Saturday Sermon: The power of words
In her book, "The Female Brain," Dr. Louann Brizendine, a clinical professor of psychiatry from the University of California-San Francisco, claims that the average woman speaks 20,000 words a day, while the average man speaks 7,000.
When I shared those numbers with my wife, she said that just can't be true. She is convinced that I speak a lot more than 20,000 words a day. I had to remind her that those numbers are just an average. Some of us men tend to talk a little bit more and some women a little less.
How many words do you speak a day? Are you closer to 20,000 or to 7,000? Either way, that's a lot of words.
And really, the important question isn't, "How many words do you speak a day," it's "What are you saying?" Because words have power.
In the book of James, we are told that the human tongue is like a spark that can set a whole forest on fire, James 3:5,6. A few simple words can cause a lot of damage.
Words can hurt. Just ask the awkward teenage boy who is constantly told how weird or dumb or worthless he is. Just ask the girl whose reputation was forever ruined by some untrue gossip. Just ask the wife who will never look at her husband the same because of the hurtful words that came out of his mouth in a fit of rage.
Words have the power to hurt and tear down. Sadly, every one of us has spoken words of anger. We have gossiped. We have lied. That's why we take such great comfort in the words of our Savior.
As he was being nailed to the cross, he spoke a word of forgiveness: "Father, forgive them." As his enemies spewed venomous words at him, he told the repentant thief, "Today, you will be with me in paradise." And he speaks those same words to us.
Our Savior speaks to us words of forgiveness and promise. Because of Jesus, God forgives you for what you said to your husband, your mom, your neighbor. Because of Jesus, he promises us paradise, an eternity in heaven we don't deserve.
Our Savior's words comfort us and give us strength, because words not only have the power to hurt and tear down. They also have the power to build up, comfort and heal. Sometimes, we underestimate the power of our words. Simple words of kindness, encouragement and forgiveness can literally change lives - especially the beautiful words of our Savior God.
So whether you say 20,000 or 7,000 words today, think about the words you say. Remember the power of words.
Use your words to build up and encourage. Share with others our God's powerful words of forgiveness and love.
Andrew Schroer is the pastor if Redeemer Lutheran Church in Edna.