Sticks and Stones

"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water." (James 3:9-12)


There is that old saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me."  Nothing can be further from the truth.  All of us have had things said to us that not only hurt, but has possibly greatly influenced the direction of our lives.  It's amazing to think that words carry such power, that just a few syllables can completely crush you or on the other end, can completly change your life for the better.  If our words have this much power to harm, how much more so can it be used for good? Chapter 3 of the book of James is discussing the importance of taming the tongue, that if we can get a hold of it there can be so much more peace and joy in our life. 

It's wild how easy it is to justify our backbiting and negative talk.  No matter the issue, without barely even trying, we as people ( Christians too...there, I said it) find the cause or reason to allow toxic waste to flow from our mouths.  Of course, we would never describe it like that, but really isnt that what it is?  James is saying how in the world can salt flow from fresh water?  How can toxic talk come out of a life that has been transformed by the living God? Can the Holy Spirit really live in a heart like that?  Here is our point, the words that come from our mouth is a barometer of what is really going on in our hearts.  Our hearts are always on display, by what is flowing from our lips.  Think about that next time we become offended by someone.  When someone is speaking out against you and you feel like you're being attached, pause and ponder before you let lose.   The next time something breaks down in your house, ponder how you plan to vent your disappointment.  Your words can make all of the difference.

Your words will either bring life or they will bring death.  (Prov. 18:21)


1. Recall a time when you've hurt someone with your words.  What was motivating you?

2. What are 2 or 3 practical ways you can be more careful with your words?

3. What can you say today that can encourage and give life?