Psalm 19:14: “Let my words and my heart meditations be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord…my Redeemer.”

Words and communication are topics of frequent discussion. We’ve all had to choose to “bite our tongues” to keep from blurting out words that might be damaging to family or workplace relationships. Often the physical presence of the other person deters unkind or foolish words because we don’t want to see the hurt on their faces. Hearing our own words—an auditory perception of a harsh or angry tone we might be using—helps bring an acute awareness of how our words impact the other person.

James 3:5-10 (HCSB): 5 Though the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts great things. Consider how large a forest a small fire ignites. 6 The tongue is a fire; a world of unrighteousness…it pollutes the whole body, sets the course of life on fire, and is set on fire by hell…no man (apart from God) can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

Now a new challenge has arisen with the advent of email and texting: the words we “speak” through social media have become emotionally disengaged from the person about whom or to whom we are communicating. Because digital words are basically silent, our culture has become wrapped in a false sense of isolation. Even with all the warnings that privacy is really nonexistent, we still want to believe that when we’ve sent a text or email, it’s secure and will only be read by the person for whom it was intended.

Psalm 59:7: Behold, they belch out insults with their mouths; swords of sarcasm, ridicule, slander and lies are in their lips, for they think, “Who hears us?”

Along with the potential turmoil caused by disembodied words (words that are unaccompanied by voice tone and body language), we must consider the very real possibilities of a lost phone; computer hackers or a recipient of our communication who doesn’t understand confidentiality. Any of these things can put our words into the eyes and ears of someone for whom they were never intended. The damage is immediate and spreads like wildfire.

Words are powerfully important, whether they are spoken audibly or digitally. God designed words to bring hope and healing; satan desires that we misuse words to destroy. We must guard our words carefully! Here are some wise guidelines for spoken and written words:

  • Never assume privacy when using social media! If it’s digital, it’s available even when deleted.
  • Never assume that the recipient of your communication can be implicitly trusted to never repeat or share.
  • Keep text messages and emails short. Intimate or extended conversations should be face-to-face or by phone.
  • Don’t hit someone with words that would hurt if aimed at you.
  • Some wise words I heard often in childhood: “If you can’t say something kind, don’t say anything at all.” Psalm 34:13: Keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from speaking deceit.

Proverbs 18:20-21: A man shall be filled with the fruit of his mouth; and must be satisfied with the consequence of his words, whether good or evil. Death and life are the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of their mouth, for death or life.

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Infinite Grace Ministries teaches freedom from regret and anxiety by focusing on the infinitely wise mercy of God.

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Dr. Dixie Yoder

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Weatherford, OK 73096