LIfe at its best: Creating environments with our words

May 6, 2011 at 12:06 a.m.

By Jim Graff

My wife loves to decorate. It seems that every other week I hear, "Jim, help me move this table over there," or "Which do you like better - the green or the blue?" Though I admit this sometimes drives me crazy, I'm thankful for my wife's gift of making things look nice. As she says, I make things functional, and she makes them beautiful. We all appreciate beautiful environments - not just in the physical sense but in the emotional sense, as well. It's a natural human desire to want to be a part of life-giving atmospheres where we feel unified with those around us. But what creates those environments? Our words. Proverbs 25:11 says, "The right word spoken at the right time is as beautiful as gold apples in a silver bowl." When we speak right words, we're creating beautiful surroundings.

Recently, I read an interesting article about how to tame snakes. The article said that snakes without poison can be domesticated, but poisonous snakes cannot be because it's not in their nature. After a short amount of time, the poison in the snakes cause them to grow restless until they lash out and strike their owner. Now, let me ask you a question: How would you feel if I told you that for the rest of your life, a poisonous snake would remain two inches away from you at all times? You would not be happy. Every day, you'd have to live your life with incredible caution because you'd constantly be in danger.

Well, guess what? Whether you recognize it or not, there is constant danger you need to be aware of. But it's not a snake; it's our own tongues. James 3:7-8 says, "All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures can be tamed and have been tamed. But our tongues get out of control. They are restless and evil and always spreading deadly poison." We must be aware that our tongues are naturally ready to strike any second. We need to be proactive in making sure every word we speak is contributing to a beautiful environment.

If you've studied the Bible, you know a group of people who never seemed to grasp this concept - the Israelites. They started speaking negatively almost as soon as they set out on their journey to the Promised Land. And guess what happened? God sent a fire that consumed the outskirts of the camp. He's serious about our words. In fact, He's so serious that when we stand before Him to give an account of our life, our words are what He'll look back on. He's going to show us how well we stewarded them, and how they determined whether we fulfilled His call on our lives.

Do you want to hear "Well done!" or "Well, you're done!" I think we'd all want to hear the first. So I encourage you to live with an incessant awareness of what you speak. We're all creating an environment with our words. What kind are you creating?

Jim Graff is the senior pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria, Texas.



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