A Word About Words
Stop! Listen. Do you hear that? There are words everywhere. There are people on cell phones and land-line phones. There are people screaming and some speaking softly. There are words being uttered in languages known and unknown to us. Listen; listen to the words that are being put in the atmosphere never to return. Promises are being made and vows are broken with words. Life is being advanced and death encouraged all with what comes from the mouth – words.
This is why the Scripture is careful to point out the significance of words. You see, there are many that use words as a mere covers for what is actually going on in the heart. With words lies are being told that need not be told. For instance, there are many that say that they love God however their actions are far from loving. Jesus points this out in Mark 7:6 with the words, “This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” This is to say that they profess God with all the words they can muster yet the reality is that there is no love for God at all. Such people need to be very careful what comes from their mouths in that it is very dangerous to profess one thing while living another.
James was one that clearly understood what words could do. In chapter one of the epistle the words “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain” are found in verse twenty-six. This was written because so many that count themselves as followers of God find it impossible to carefully choose their words. Excuses are made on every hand because of the lack of discipline in controlling the unruly member we call the tongue.
It becomes abundantly clear that Christians need to be able to control what comes out of their mouths. This is because it is not what goes into a man that defiles him rather that which comes out of him (Matthew 15:11). Yet many choose to use their mouths to put down others, lie on friends, neighbors and family, slander and even use expletives even while they count themselves as Christians. Well, let it be said that those that act in such a manner have deceived themselves. The unbridled tongue of such people is a clear mark of the hypocrisy born deep within them. This is a dangerous place to be because James clearly shows that the religion, or worship, of such people is null and void.
And still the mouths of ungodly people purport promises in which there is no intent to follow through. Promises to return phone calls or letters go unmet. Promises to make purchases are made only for the good feeling of the moment. Marital vows are broken for reasons that fall far short of good reason. And all this is done with uttered words. Words; with our mouths much is made with them yet all too often there is no follow through. There is no action taken. The words then cause one’s entire life to become vain because the religion of one that cannot control an untruthful tongue is vain.
The fact of the matter is that words do matter. They matter when there are corresponding works and they matter where there are no works. This is why it is better to be quiet (I Thessalonians 4:11) than to open one’s mouth wide with devastating results.