Thursday, October 4, 2012

Words that hurt, words that heal

 But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. James 3:8-9

Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, author of Words That Hurt, Words That Heal, lectures throughout this country on the powerful, and often negative, impact of words. He often asks audiences if they can go 24 hours without saying any unkind words about, or to, another person. Invariably, a small number of listeners raise their hands, signifying "yes." Others laugh, and quite a large number call out, "no!"

Telushkin responds: "If you can't answer 'yes' recognize that you have a serious problem. If you cannot go 24 hours without drinking liquor, you are addicted to alcohol. If you cannot go 24 hours without smoking, you are addicted to nicotine. Similarly, if you cannot go 24 hours without saying unkind words about others, gossiping about other people, then you have lost control over your tongue."

And to lose control of one’s tongue is bad news for us as individuals, it’s bad news for a church, a family and every relationship is imperiled. A tongue out of control is like a dirty bomb that explodes, causing huge collateral damage.

How are you using your words? What words do you use to bless those around you? Do you need to repent before God and others for reckless use of words? May God give you the strength to do it!

Visit our website to hear the complete audio version of this sermon preached at our church on Sunday, September 30.