The Power of Words
December 3, 2015

Rediscover the Bible for Life

“The Power of Words”

By Dennis Lee


In a small country church in Croatia near the beginning of the twentieth century, an altar boy by the name of Joseph Brauz accidentally dropped the glass of wine during Mass. It smashed into pieces. The priest became upset and slapped the boy and with harsh words said, “Leave the altar, and don’t come back.”


The boy left and never returned. He grew up to be Tito, the communist leader of Yugoslavia.


About the same time another altar boy by the name of Peter John was assisting a priest at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Peoria, Illinois. He likewise dropped the glass of wine during Mass, and years later wrote of the experience.


“There is no atomic explosion that can equal the intensity of decibels in the noise and explosive force of a wine cruet falling on a marble floor of a cathedral in the presence of a bishop. I was frightened to death.


The bishop presiding over Mass that day was Bishop John Spalding, and as that glass broke, the bishop looked at the boy and said, “Someday you will be just as I am.”


Well, the boy grew up to be one of the church’s most eloquent spokesmen for Christ. He wrote more than fifty books and in the 1950’s had a television program called, “Life is Work Living.”


The man was Archbishop Felton J. Sheen.


There is an old saying, “Sticks and stones can break our bones, but words will never hurt us.” As remiss as I am to counter wisdom from the past, this is blatantly false. Sticks and stone will break our bones, but words can kill the spirit, doing far more harm than sticks and stones could ever do.


What a difference words make.


The Apostle James understood this and the power that words have to change the course of history and change a person’s life, so we need to be careful of the words we say and how we say them.


The Apostle James tells us that our words our like bits in a horses mouth, a little bit of metal can control a thousand pounds of horse power. He also says that our words are like rudders on ships, a small piece of metal that controls the direction of large ships. And he also says that our words are like a little fire that can consume whole forests.


Such is the power of gossip, and the Apostle James says that it is set on fire by the very fires of hell.


Let’s get control of our tongues. With our tongues we can bring great happiness or utter despair. We can build up or tear down. We can hurt or heal. It is all in the power of the words we use.


But how can we control our tongue? Simple, it’s by what we allow in our hearts. The Bible says, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).


So what comes out of our mouths determines what is truly in our hearts. If gossip and malicious speech comes out, then it is time for a heart check.


Where is your heart? Have you given it to Jesus Christ?

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