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Last week a young woman was found guilty of manslaughter for using text messages to convince her boyfriend to commit suicide and instruct him on how to do it.  They were teenagers at the time.  He had just graduated from high school and was preparing to go to college.  She was in another town 35 miles away, but her words were powerful enough  through her text messages  to convince him to take his life.

I was intrigued by this case and curious how the judge would rule.  One analyst said the guilty verdict showed that the words were viewed as a weapon.  Legal analysts will debate the outcome of the trial, but I think most will agree this case proves that words matter.

Words have the power to build up, instruct, inform, inspire, give healing and hope, and share love.  Words also have the power to inflict pain, tear down, be destructive, spread hate, and even destroy lives.

The Bible says:  “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Epheshians 4:29  ESV)

The same verse in New Living Translation says: “Don’t use foul or abusive language.  Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear.”  (Ephesians 4:29 NLT)

New International Version: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”    (Ephesians 4:29 NIV)

I’m guilty of talking too much and speaking with a sharp tongue when I’m mad, impatient or upset.  Ephesians 4:29 reminds me to not share every thought that comes into my head, but only say what is necessary to build others up or help a situation, and to choose my words carefully.

My mom has often told me that it’s not what I say, but the tone in which I speak that gets me into trouble.  In other words, it’s not just what we say, but the attitude and emotions behind our words that can cause problems.

The Bible instructs us to speak in a way that is gracious for those who hear, for the purpose of doing good, not causing harm.

I once shared this verse with a group of 7th graders.  After we talked about it, one of the students said it reminded her of Thumper in the story of Bambi, when Thumper said, “If you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.”  Good advice, Thumper.

However, I hope more people choose to speak up, not keep quiet, finding ways to share words of kindness and grace for the purpose of encouraging, comforting, building up and sharing love.

Who can you encourage or inspire today?

For more on this topic, see my related post titled “The Power of Positive Speaking”, and go to http://www.Biblegateway.com to learn what the Bible says about “speech” and “encouragement.”

God bless you.  🙂

 

God’s breath of life was the umbilical cord for the creation of each of us.  That cord was never cut.  We are forever connected to God; thus we have an intrinsic need for Him that nothing else can fulfill.  The umbilical cord is the source of life for a developing fetus, providing everything it needs to survive.  As Christians, our connection to God is through Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, giving our souls all that we need to thrive and survive.

The Holy Spirit is our Helper and Counselor, to lead, guide, speak to our inner souls, and give comfort, peace, healing and hope so that we will grow in faith to better serve the Kingdom of Christ and bring glory to God, the Father.

That is why we celebrate Pentecost today.  It was at Pentecost, that the Holy Spirit gifted and empowered those who were present so that they could begin ministering to others and start building Christ’s church.  That same Spirit is alive today, seeking to empower us and dwell within us that we will grow deeper in faith and stronger in the love, grace and peace of Jesus the Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Praise be to God.

To read the story of Pentecost, go to Acts chapter 2.  For more, about Pentecost and the Holy Spirit go to http://www.BibleGateway.com

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