Blessing and Cursing

Someone asked me if I knew Sam Smith. The words that came next from me were not kind nor sweet.  Yes Sam can be a difficult, often eccentric, and even inappropriate but rather than offer an honest reference, I tossed off a dismissive phrase. Later, on reflection, my conscience stung. Why had I chosen that? Was it to be clever, an attempt at humor that came at the expense of another person?  That same day I used words to guide and comfort a family in grief, blessing them with the truth of the Word.  Words- how do we use them?  Are we blessing or cursing, building up or tearing down?

Words are a gift. Ever received a note that filled your heart with joy because it brought loving words of appreciation?  A friend who recently passed away sent me several notes over the last few years to encourage me to keep up the work of “CoffeeBreak.”  He took time to reference something I had written and the way it encouraged him. Those little notes were a gift of kindness!

Words can be terribly cruel, too.  We do not have to actually say “I hate you” to hurt another. We can simply dismiss them with harshness to strike a blow. In anger we risk hurting others, hurling words like bullets aimed at the heart. We can be thoughtless, saying things about another or even to them without knowledge of how our words are heard. Kids chant, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me!” But, that isn’t not true. Words can hurt, badly. I cringe when I hear a parent label their child as stupid, or bad, or with similar pejorative labels. Even corrective words need not be cruel.

What kinds of words flow from your lips? Proverbs contains some pithy wisdom about this.

A troublemaker plants seeds of strife;
gossip separates the best of friends.”  (16:28)

“Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy;
do you really want junk like that in your belly?”  (18:8, The Message)

“When you run out of wood, the fire goes out;
when the gossip ends, the quarrel dies down.”  (26:20)

We need to be careful not to cheapen our words with inflation!  In our economy when the amount of money is increased, the price of goods rises because the value of a dollar diminishes. That’s called inflation and we are experiencing that at this present time. Words are much the same. When we use too many, when what we say is insincere or mere flattery, we make speech cheap.  

Who has not been guilty of saying something like “this is the worst day of my life” only when dealing with some inconvenience. Is it really true? No, it’s hyperbole. We know it and discount what we hear.  But, that can become a habit that diminishes the value of our words to others. That is why Jesus teaches us to “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’”  He warns about word inflation!

Want to speak better words, encouraging words, words that are filled with life?  

The key is to experience a change at the source. 

Jesus reminds us that our words flow up from our inner person and are the revelation of the content of our heart, our thought life. A person who is mean, who spreads slanderous gossip, tells the world- “I have a heart that is empty of positive, Spirit-inspired life.”   When I am depleted in spirit and have not renewed my strength in prayerful conversation with the Holy Spirit, I can become critical, negative, and demeaning to others. When I am filled with the Spirit, in the same situation, I am capable of encouraging, of speaking honestly, yet lovingly and with the goal of edifying others.

Let me leave you with a lengthy passage today for your meditation. The word from the Word is practical wisdom!

May God use it to challenge each one of us about our words – that they will bless not curse, build up not tear down.

“We all make many mistakes, but those who control their tongues can also control themselves in every other way. We can make a large horse turn around and go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a tiny rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot wants it to go, even though the winds are strong. So also, the tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is full of wickedness that can ruin your whole life. It can turn the entire course of your life into a blazing flame of destruction, for it is set on fire by hell itself.

People can tame all kinds of animals and birds and reptiles and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it breaks out into curses against those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water?” (James 3:2-11, NLT)

Oh, Lord, change my heart and make the overflow a refreshing spring of living water. Amen.

(Video of this blog at this link)



They’ve made me feel like a prisoner
They’ve made me feel set free
They’ve made me feel like a criminal
Made me feel like a king
They’ve lifted my heart
To places I’d never been
And they’ve dragged me down
Back to where I began

Words can build you up
Words can break you down
Start a fire in your heart or put it out

Let my words be life
Let my words be truth
I don’t wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You

You can heal the heartache
Speak over the fear
God Your voice is the only thing
We need to hear

Words can build us up
Words can break us down
Start a fire in our hearts or put it out

Let my words be life
Let my words be truth
I don’t wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You (back to You)
Let the words I say (let the words I say)
Be the sound of Your grace (sound of Your grace)
I don’t wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You (back to You)

I wanna speak Your love
Not just another noise
Oh I wanna be Your light
I wanna be Your voice

I don’t wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You

Jonathan Steingard | Matthew Hammitt | Seth Mosley
© 2012 Birdwing Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
CentricSongs (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

Toledo Tomorrow Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

Atlantis Underwater Music (Fair Trade Music Publishing [c/o Essential Music Publishing LLC])

Fair Trade Tunes (Fair Trade Music Publishing [c/o Essential Music Publishing LLC])

CCLI License # 810055

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