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Be Wise with Your Words – Rick Warren

“The tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A great forest can be set on fire by one tiny spark. And the tongue . . . can turn our whole lives into a blazing flame of destruction and disaster.”

James 3:5-6 (TLB)

When we lack self-control, we’re vulnerable to all kinds of problems.
Anything out of control in your life can harm other people and damage your close relationships. Uncontrolled anger, lust, addiction, spending, drinking, or ambition can create enormous problems.

But the greatest destroyer of relationships is an uncontrolled tongue.

I read once that the average person has about 30 conversations a day. That was before the pandemic quarantine. But if it’s true, that would mean we spend around one-fifth of our lives talking.

At some point, your mouth will probably get you into trouble. The odds are against you!

James compares the tongue to a tiny spark because that’s all that is needed to create a great forest fire. A careless word can ignite your relationships and make them all go up in smoke.

Have you ever met a verbal arsonist?

Their words are dangerous. They use words of discouragement, disappointment, accusation, criticism, sarcasm, condemnation, or attack—the list is endless.

Gossip is especially destructive because it spreads like an airborne virus. Careless words have destroyed careers, friendships, and families.

Instead of heading in a destructive direction, you can choose to use your words to build others up. Catch people doing something right and tell them about it. Affirm their character when they make difficult decisions. Lift them up with words of encouragement.

Building others up with your words isn’t difficult, but in our world, it is uncommon.

You reflect God’s glory in a dark world when you control your mouth and build others up.

Talk It Over

What are some words you can use to build others up?
What is one way you can remind yourself to be encouraging when you’re tempted to be critical?
Why is gossip so destructive? Make an “exit” plan for how you can avoid participating in gossip.

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