My mother always told my siblings and me that we better watch what we say to one another because “words are spirits.” She said it so often that I grew up believing that this exact phrase could be found word-for-word in the Bible and I was shocked when it produced no search results.
Yet the spiritual principle of our words carrying power remains. And not just any power, but the power to invoke life or death.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.” Proverbs 18:21 (AMP)
I am sure that when Donald Trump spoke those extremely vulgar and sexist words eleven years ago, he was not thinking that they would bear the consequences that they have in October of 2016. He saw himself as a reality star with such popularity and fame that whatever derogatory statements he said against women in general was perfectly fine and acceptable. After all, it’s just “locker room talk.” Right?
Well, not exactly, Donald.
You see, when we allow our tongue to boast, we are not only considered immature, but also filled with corruption setting “the whole course of one’s life on fire,” (see James 3:6). Please hear me. I’m not saying that Donald Trump is going to hell for what he said eleven years ago, but I bet that he is feeling like his life has been set on fire right about now due to his lewd and loose tongue. The comments that he so carelessly spoke concerning women will have eternal implications for him, as they should. Women are not objects to be used and thrown away. They are precious in the sight of their Creator. But please also hear this: if we want the respect we deserve, we as women have a responsibility to carry our body in a manner worthy of respect. The halt of the vicious cycle of the objectification of women starts with us!
And therein lies the lesson for those of us who wish to reflect the light of Christ in our everyday lives. We must aim to control the things that we say and do. Will we get it right 100% of the time? No, not at all. In fact, James also said that we all stumble, but it is the mature woman who keeps her body in check in action and in speech.
That means that when we are tempted to want to speak that ugly word to our sister/friend we remember how just last week she played with our children so that we could go grocery shopping or listen to the sermon at church. It could also be that when we are arguing with our spouse, we take the high road and resist the urge to want to retaliate with hurtful words. Or if we have children and we are trying to get their attention on a certain matter, we speak words of life and encouragement over them instead of words of manipulation.
It’s a choice we are making to see that person as not only a human being, but as someone who has been made in God’s likeness. We treat him/her with respect and dignity. It does not mean that we are a doormat or that we accept abusive behavior. It simply means that we recognize that “words are spirits” and we attempt to speak life over those that we come into contact with, not death. We strive to let them be filled with fruit, such as kindness and gentleness, so that when we bear the consequences of the things that we have said, it will be a sweet taste in our mouth.
This is not intended to be a political post with a nod for or against Trump as the next United States President. It is simply a chance for us to learn from a man who allowed his tongue to get the best of him and resolve to not let that same mistake to happen to us. We will choose to remember that each and every word we utter holds the power of life and death. Words Are Spirits.