The Power of Words
by Pastor Mark Martin
“Wise words bring approval, but fools are destroyed by their own words” (Ecclesiastes 10:12).
All of our words have influence. All of us have influence. I have influence that is different from yours and in different spheres than you might have, but you and I both have something in common—we both have influence. The application of what we are reading here is how to use our influence to do something good.
I read about an altar boy in a small country church who accidentally spilled some wine during the Mass. That, of course, is considered by Roman Catholics to be an extremely serious matter. The village priest slapped the altar boy on the cheek and shouted, “Leave the altar and don’t come back.” The boy left the altar, he left the church, and he walked away from God. His name was Tito, and he became the Yugoslavian communist dictator. Under his rule, millions of people were controlled, came under atheistic influence, and thousands of people were brutally killed. Words! Look at what those words did in this kid’s life.
About the same time, in a cathedral in a different country, there was another altar boy who was helping a bishop with Mass, and he spilled some wine from the chalice. When it happened, the priest bent down to him with a twinkle in his eye and said, “Son, some day you’re going to be a priest.” That young boy went on to become Archbishop Fulton Sheen, one of the great leaders of the Roman Catholic Church and an inspiration to millions of people.
The point of this story is not about Roman Catholicism, but it shows how our words have influence, sometimes way beyond anything we imagine. Our words can either work in a positive way to help people (and in some cases hundreds or millions of people), or they can influence someone negatively and ultimately lead to the destruction of millions of people as in Tito’s case.
It was the words of men like Martin Luther that started the Reformation of the Church that changed the world. The words of Patrick Henry, “Give me liberty or give me death,” spurred on the colonies to fight for their independence. The words of women like Catherine Booth, co-founder of the Salvation Army, brought to light the injustices done to poor women and children. The words of Martin Luther King, Jr. trumpeted the call for equal rights for all people. Think of how the words of evangelists like Billy Graham have changed the lives of millions of people by bringing them to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
You may still be hearing kind words, encouraging words, words of blessing that were spoken to you by someone significant early in your life. Those words set you up for life. But I know that there are others who are still hearing the unkind, demeaning words spoken at an early age that have held you captive. They have actually defined who you are and what you think of yourself. Let me tell you something: when you’re a child, you believe almost everything an adult tells you. That information molds who you are and what you think, but not all of that information was correct. Some of it was absolutely wrong, but you can’t continue now to think as a child. You need to reprogram your mind with God’s truth. God has something to say to you that you can hold onto. Repeat what He says over and over:
- God has drawn you to Himself. He says: “I have loved you, …with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself” (Jeremiah 31:3).
- One paraphrase puts it this way: “I’ve never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love!” (MSG).
- God says, “…you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you…” (Isaiah 43:4, ESV).
In ancient times a father would show his approval and favor for his child by placing his hand on their head and blessing them. Maybe you never experienced this from your earthly father, but did you know that your Father in Heaven does that for you? Listen to what Psalm 139:5 says: “You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.”
Now you can pray and confess: “How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! They outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!” (Psalm 139:17-18).
Pastor Mark Martin
Calvary Community Church