John T. Willis

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Power of Speech

Divine and Human speech is one of the most powerful forces in human life. In the next several blogs [intermingled with a study of the Book of Jeremiah], we will discuss different aspects of speech--both positive and negative. In this introductory blog, let us think about a few great truths about the power of speech. God and human beings can denounce or harm or encourage or assure others. Here are a few examples and thoughts.

1. Proverbs 10:11: "The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence."

2. Proverbs 12:18: "Rash words are like swords of thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing."

3. Proverbs 12:25: "Anxiety weighs down the human heart,
but a good word cheers it up."

4. Proverbs 15:4: "A gentle tongue is a tree of life,
but perverseness in it breaks the spirit."

5. Proverbs 16:24: "Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,
sweetness to the soul and health to the body."

6. Proverbs 25:11: "A word fitly spoken
is like apples of gold in a setting of silver."

7. James 3:2-12:
"All of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds top drive them, yet they are gujided by a very small rudder wherver the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet its boat of great exploits. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity: it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. For every species of beast and bird, of repite and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no one can tame the tongue--a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh."

9. W. E. Norris, in Thirlby Hall, penned this thoughtful jingle:
"If you your lips would keep from slips,
Five things observe with care;
To whom you speak, or whom you speak,
And how and when and where."

Speech is powerful. Think of the Sermon on the Mount, Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Martin Luther King Jr.'s Speech: I Have A Dream. What are YOUR experiences about the power of speech? Share YOUR thoughts and insights with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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