James 3:2-8

We use words a lot everyday. However, we seldom take time to consider the impact of our words.

Sigmund Freud once said, “Words have a magical power. They can either bring the greatest happiness or the deepest despair.”

Our words are very powerful “weapons”.
Words have power to build up and to tear down.
Words have both power to kill and to save.

Many examples in our daily life tell us the danger when words are being abused.

In the book of James, he shared the danger of abusing our words.

For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:7-8)

James reminded his readers about the destructions that our words can bring. However, the challenge is that our tongues often become stumbling blocks in our life.

For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. (James 3:2)

Words have power….

Words have the power to reveal our inner being - our personality, attitude and temperament.

Just as the Proverbs said, our words reveal the truth about us.

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. (Proverbs 17:28)

The question is then: what truth about ourselves are we revealing.

Words have the power to shape reality and influence the direction of our lives.

If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. (James 3:3-4)

Although sometimes words seem harmless, they add up to impact where we are going. Psychologists have observed that one’s narration about life can impact on how a person deals with real life situations.

Words have the power to hurt. Our realization of how words hurt is nothing new in the Bible,

So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. (James 3:5-6)

The Bible goes on saying that words can burn down others’ lives to ashes.

By given us the ability to speak, God gives us a very powerful tool. We have a choice to use our speech to build up or to destroy others.

Being truly authentic is to return to God’s original design - to build up, to comfort, to encourage and to teach. If we want to be truly authentic, we need to learn to talk in a way that goes with God’s intent.

To speak authentically, we need to:

  • Be mindful with our words
  • Repent and ask for forgiveness
  • Discern our words


Have you been built up by others’ words? In what way were the words helpful to you?
What did you talk most in your daily life? In what way do you think you can use your words more constructively?