Words have tremendous power for good or evil. Words can be used as instruments of healing or as weapons of war, and there is a place and a time for each. Conscious of this truth, I need to think before I speak or write, and I need to choose my words carefully.

The more words I produce, the more I am apt to sin. “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise” (Proverbs 10:19). Sometimes, I must speak/write; but sometimes, I need to be silent. Likewise, sometimes I need to listen to what another has to say (really listen), and sometimes I need to walk away.

Words are intoxicating, and words, like alcohol, produce happy drunks, mean drunks, sad drunks, and drunks who do crazy or wicked things they would never do sober. When a person talks, and then talks more and more and more, throwing down words like champagne at a New Year’s Eve party, that person may exhibit a personality completely different from the one he or she exhibits when “sober.”

Words are addictive. Like alcohol, words create a heady buzz that some cannot resist – they cannot stop once they’ve started. They cannot resist making just one more comment, adding one more verbal flourish or jab, saying one last word (and then another, and another).

* * *

Words are one of the things that set us humans apart from the animals. They are a gift from our Creator. It is through words that we are able to know God. And it should be through our words that we reflect His truth and beauty most clearly.

“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Jesus, speaking in Matthew 12:36).

Does this verse give you pause? Does it sober you? It sure does me.

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