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The Power of Words

The letter from James is a collection of practical instructions written to God’s people scattered over the world. In chapter 3 we are cautioned about the potential power of our words.

“A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it!

It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.” James 3:3-6 (The Message)

This short video is a powerful illustration of this passage and it asks some challenging questions. I would encourage you to watch it and prayerfully reflect on the questions below.

  • How are your words affecting the children in your church?
  • Do your words demonstrate faith, or destroy beliefs?
  • Display forgiveness, or harden hearts?
  • Nurture love, or cultivate hatred?
  • When was the last time you spoke a word of encouragement to a child and made their day?

“Your words set up a chain of events beyond your control and which you would never know. One word can destroy beliefs, harden hearts, or cultivate hatred, but they can also demonstrate faith, display forgiveness, and at the end nurture love.The power of life and death lies in a single word. And we, the image of God, have this great power in one word.”


Sharon Harding

About Sharon Harding

I was born in England and immigrated to Canada almost 30 years ago. A graduate of Gloucestershire University (B.Ed.), I have been involved in children’s ministry since I was 16. Over the past 12 years I have written for a variety of Christian Education curriculum resources. I also write a blog at encouraging parents to build strong connections with their children. When I am not working I enjoy painting, reading, and pottering around the Internet.
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