In my past life I worked for a couple of different newspapers. I spent some time interning with the regional newspaper during college, then spent the first few years after college working for a small newspaper in one of the local towns, working mainly with sports but some news as well.
One thing that always stood out to me working at the newspaper is the power words can have.
If you get Jimmy's name wrong in the paper, you better be ready to hear about it from his parents or his grandparents. If you take a certain angle at a sports story, it can be viewed as, “Well, you’re an alum from this school, so you liked writing poorly about its rivals”. Use a word in a headline that someone may not like, you better be ready to hear about.
The point is, words can be powerful and you don’t need an outlet like a newspaper to show that your words can have an impact. Think about how often you use words in your day.
The Bible speaks extensively about the power of words – especially positive ones – and warns about the dangers of careless ones.
- Proverbs 18:21 – “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
- Proverbs 16:24 – “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
- Ephesians 4:39 – “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.”
One word can make the difference between building a relationship up or tearing it down. We have the power to either encourage or destroy others with our speech.