Measure Your Words

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Proverbs 10:19 says, “When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is wise.” As someone who writes thousands of words each week, this is especially relevant and convicting to me. However, you don’t have to be a writer to need to learn this lesson. If we don’t measure our words, odds are we’re going to say things dishonoring to God, hurtful to others, and regretful to ourselves. Usually, it will be all the above.

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Jesus’s brother James warned our tongues could not be tamed and could start great, destructive fires (James 3:5-9). Paul instructed us to only speak words of encouragement, never saying derogatory or inflammatory things (Ephesians 4:29-32). In a world enamored with social media, it has never been more important to measure your words.

Every day we are bombarded by words. Media – print, television, radio, and digital – invade our senses and force us to deal with the information provided. I’m attempting to counter this by withdrawing from many of those sources. This is unpopular and perhaps impossible or wholly counterproductive in our culture. I’m limiting what I can, while attempting to stay relevant and aware of the things I need to know. At the same time, we are all tempted and even encouraged to add our voices to the mix. Facebook, Twitter, comments, blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos, Instagram, and more all provide outlets for our words, opinions, likes, and dislikes. We’ve become a culture obsessed with the words of others and ourselves.

It all flies in the face of Biblical advice. We don’t measure our words. We don’t limit our speech to only what is encouraging to others, and we certainly don’t spend much of our time talking about Jesus in a way glorifying to Him. Indeed, we are stoking insatiable fires of destruction with our words. They are multiplied, not measured.

James told us we should be slow to speak (James 1:19), and we prove our maturity in Christ when we don’t allow our words to cause us to stumble (James 3:2). When you measure your words, you eliminate a common and destructive mechanism used by Satan. The devil loves when we can’t keep our opinions to ourselves because it exposes our pride. He laughs when we tear down others because we demonstrate we think we are better than they are. And Satan delights in us rambling on and on because it builds on our selfishness, and it limits our time talking about Christ.

Do you measure your words? Have you ever considered what a vital part they play in building or tearing down the Kingdom of God? Be assured, your words will either bring glory to God, or they will glorify Satan. There is no third entity, no neutral player in this war. If you don’t measure your words, they will measure you. Your words will show where your loyalty lies. Are your words measured, thoughtful, glorifying to God, and encouraging to others? If not, it is time you began to measure your words.