All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.

James 3:7-10

I am amazed at the power of words—and not just because I’m a wannabe writer. Language conveys ideas. When a thought gets stuck in my head, I use language to put it into yours–transferring my ideas to you.

Sounds simple right? But no other creature on this planet can transmit ideas in this way.

Certainly, animals communicate. If my dog wants to go outside, she scratches at the door and gives me the I’m-going-to-die-if-I-don’t-go-pee look. But could she explain to me how existentially freeing it is to pee in the outdoors? I think not.

God continues to impress on me every day that words are mighty. We may write or say something, then forget what we said or wrote, but many times those words are still out there. If they were spoken words, they likely still live on in the mind of the listener.

If they were written words, they may impact even more people. When someone tells me one of my devotions has touched them, I may not know which one, but I’m always in awe of God who uses those words in a specific time and place. He knows the journey those words will take before I’ve written one of them.

With great power like this comes great responsibility. For those who write, but also for all of us who speak into the lives of other people. As someone who was born without a brain-mouth filter, I’ve had to work on my speech more than any other part of my life. Usually, the only way for me to have a pure mouth is to have a pure heart, but it’s worth the effort. When we practice pure speech, we speak life into a dead world.

Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of language. The words we say or write are out there living inside the people who hear or read them. Let them be Your words, Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.


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