No doubt, there are words rooted deep in your heart, good or bad, that someone spoke to you, or over you, that you will remember forever. Here, lies the power of words. Our words are so powerful in fact that the Bible says that the tongue (which is used to speak words, you follow me, right?) has the power of life and death in it (Prov. 18:21). That means your words have the power of life and death. I wonder if we really considered that power, if we wouldn’t watch our tongues a little more closely. The Bible has A LOT to say about speaking truth and life over each other. “How good is a timely word”, “Gracious words are pure”, “The tongue of the wise brings healing”. Ephesians says, “Let no corrupting talk come from your mouths, but only such is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” There is a trend on social media currently where people are posting things like “I don’t know who needs to hear this right now but…” and then they make a statement that is sometimes hilarious like “you need to wash your hair”. But sometimes those words are encouraging like “your wedding will still happen and it will be amazing.” Most of the time I see these things and I roll my eyes because they are cheesy and looking for likes. Recently however, I have considered how life-giving these words can be to people who don’t even know each other. And I think our Father is blessing those words to reach the right hearts. Lord knows right now we all need encouragement.
James 1:21 says “Put away filthiness and with humility receive the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” Then, in 1 Peter 1:23 “…Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.” The implanted word, like a seed placed in your heart, is planted, and grows and bears fruit. And if the words implanted are good, it grows healthy fruit. Friends, consider the words you are implanting in others. They should be encouraging, and building up one another. Your words should bring life and grace to those who hear them.
In the same way, we need to place the words of Jesus in our hearts. If the word of the Lord is implanted in your heart and you allow that fruit to grow, it can produce fruit in your own words for others. Your heart, with the Holy Spirit, will be good soil, where the word of the Lord, the seed, can grow wonderful fruit that others can benefit from. Fruit like patience, and graciousness, and joy! Consider the parable in Matthew 13, when Jesus talks about sowing seeds in different soil. The thorns, the rocky ground, the path, and the good soil. These different soils point to what your heart looks like. And our heart can only be made like good soil when you invite the Holy Spirit to make you soft, and tillable. “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth” John 16:12. Going back to Matthew 13:23, it talks about the seed sown on good soil bearing fruit and yielding a hundred fold, and sixty fold, and thirty fold. When we allow the Holy Spirit to speak truth to us, truth that without Him we could not understand, we have the ability to yield good fruit that can be truth and life to others, and implant that truth and life into their hearts, which can grow and multiply again.
Now, I know you are thinking, “sure that’s great when people speak truth and life, but what about when they are speaking curses or discouragement, or what about when they reject your words?” I hear you. Those words, and that rejection, implants as well, and I struggle much more with these than the encouraging ones. I allow those seeds to implant in my heart, and it’s like allowing thorns to spring up with the good fruit that is being yielded. The worst! But I came across a verse in Matthew recently that has really changed my perspective. “And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town.” This comes from Matthew 10 when Jesus is telling His disciples to preach the gospel. He tells them to look for the towns and people who are worthy, and to stay there, but to shake the dust from their feet when they leave the ones who will not hear. Mark talks about this as well and adds “shake the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” Scholars say that this was to represent that the disciples would not partner with those people, and that they rid themselves of everything that is from them, including the dust on their feet. In the present-day expression, it can literally mean to reject those people, or to start new. When I first read this, I laughed at the thought of rejecting their rejection. I thought of the person who is fired from their job and says, “You can’t fire me, I quit!” But, even with the humor, it was really freeing for me to consider that, in fact, I can reject partnering with the spirit of rejection. Rejection hurts, no lie, especially when your words, or your encouragement, might hold truth. People won’t hear you for a lot of reasons, they might reject your words because of your appearance, or your gender, or your youth. I have certainly been rejected for all of these and more. But it is comforting to hear that Jesus understood His truth being rejected. In John 8 Jesus says, “…yet you seek to kill me because my words have no place in you.” If the Son of God can have His words rejected, you can believe that yours will be too. Shake the dust from your feet! Walk away and feel the power and hilarity of rejecting their rejection. Jesus did it, and He encouraged His friends to do it as well.
I have had a lot of hurtful things said to me that have stuck with me for years, even decades. And lately as I am finding my voice in this world, I am having more and more people reject my own words. I’m not sure which one hurts more, but I do know that when I allow those seeds of hurt and rejection to take root in my heart, it isn’t Jesus’ truth coming from my mouth. It is bitterness, and hurt, and lies from the enemy that are not true of me or you. When I partner with this hurt and rejection, when I allow that seed to sow, my good fruit like truth and joy becomes mixed with weeds of bitterness. “Out of the mouth speaks the abundance of the heart.” If we want our words to encourage one another, we must deal with the heart issues, otherwise, you might also be sowing your own weeds in another person’s heart.
I read somewhere on social media this week, “One of the most helpful things is when I talk about my worries and others have the same worries.” People want to be heard, people want to be understood, and people want to be encouraged! Friends, I encourage you to speak truth and life in your words to one another, I encourage you to listen to the words of others, and I encourage you to plant the seed of Jesus’ words into your heart. “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all”
2 Corinthians 13:14
We are for you
Jesus is for you