The Power of Words

dictionaryIn her book, The Female Brain, Dr. Louann Brizendine, a clinical professor of psychiatry from the University of California–San Francisco, claims the average woman speaks 20,000 words a day, while the average man speaks only 7,000.

When I shared those numbers with my wife, she didn’t believe me. She is convinced I speak a whole lot more than 20,000 words a day. I had to remind her that those numbers were just an average. Some men tend to talk a little more; 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.

Really the important question isn’t: “How many words do you speak a day?” The question we should be asking is: “What are we saying?”

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 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.

Whoever said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me” was wrong. Words have the power to hurt. Sadly, every one of us has spoken words of anger. We have all gossiped. We have all 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 the venomous words you said to your husband, your mom and your neighbor. Because of Jesus, God gives you a home forever in paradise.

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. A simple word 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 what 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.


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