By Wil Worley
“Words — so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.” –Nathaniel Hawthorne
Think of your words this week at home or school, at work or even at church. How would you categorize your choice of words? Encouraging or discouraging? Are you the friend who lifts up others, encouraging them to be better? Or the discourager, who callously beats down someone who is struggling? Do you ever find yourself questioning why you said a certain thing?
Maybe, you’re one of the fortunate few who is always careful with their words, never having a harsh word for anyone. If so, you and my Granny Matthews are in a select group!
We certainly were all witness to the untamed human tongue throughout this last year. I’m not speaking only of candidates in the election, but media personalities and the common citizen threw mud with the best of them. In fact, the whole of 2016 seems to be a long string of insults, put downs and belittling.
Each week seemed to bring a new low in the human inability to reign in the tongue. Words, so innocent and powerless? Words, so good and evil to those who weld them without forethought.
7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. (James 3:7-10)
These things ought not to be. Yet, the truth is, the human tongue remains untamed. We are witness every day to the power the tongue has in the world. The power to incite, to tear down, tear apart and devalue or build up, strengthen, resolve and give hope. And, best of all, lift praises to our Lord. From the same mouth comes blessings and cursing…So, which comes from your mouth?
My hope for this New Year is for the untamed tongue to not rule us. That we, the Christian community, can find peace and reconciliation in Christ. We must remember whom it is we serve, not the untamed tongue of thoughtless words and devious remarks. We serve a risen Savior who spoke with love, mercy and most of all hope. Let us be guided by Christ in our interactions with everyone in this new year!
Wil Worley serves as Youth Director at Viewmont Baptist Church in Hickory, N.C. Wil is a Business Administration graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne College and is a CBF Leadership Scholar currently pursuing a Master in Divinity (Christian Education/Spiritual Formation) at Gardner-Webb University.