AT our church recently we have been looking at what the Bible says about how we use our words and the positive and negative potential they can have. One picture that is used is of a tiny spark which can lead to the most devastating wildfire. We’ve seen these on our news haven’t we? This image reminds us of the potential for hurt that our often throwaway words can have on others. That juicy bit of gossip or pointed comment about a colleague, friend or even family member to their face or behind their back; or perhaps that response that you write replying to someone’s post on social media.

Words have power. Words spoken to us, about us and over us in our lives have the power to impact us in very deep ways. The names we were called as children, criticism we had from those around us, lack of affirmation at a work place. There are some terrifying statistics & accounts from people whose lives have been pretty much shattered from words thrown around by others – particularly ONLINE. But we also know that when something good and positive is said to or about us – we feel uplifted, of more worth somehow – that is if we believe them.

Words have power. I think we know this when we are on the receiving end of them; but I fear that too often we forget their power when we use them.

So perhaps the next time we are responding to a person’s online post, or writing an angry email or tempted to share that little story about another person, maybe we could stop for a moment and think about whether what we are about to say will, like a controlled campfire bring help, security and good, or if it will fan into flame something which could be much more hurtful and damaging. Words have power – handle with care.

Rev Phil Burns

Skipton Baptist Church