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Opinion:
The importance of words

Christian theology applied.

Manly Hall once said: “Words are potent weapons for all causes, good or bad.” I also used to say to the bullies at school that ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’.

But is that true? More and more in our reality we see the positive and negative effects that words have in people’s lives. This blog post seeks to shed some light on this topic.


Absorbing words

It is a common thing to be reminded of the words we are using in life, however, it is probably less documented that what we fill our minds with reflects what we say. Understanding this can bring to light how we can grow in our relationships with others and God.

Firstly, “research suggests that the average person hears between 20,000 and 30,000 words during the course of a 24-hour period.” Some of these words we take in and some we gloss over. “Most people usually only remember about 17 to 25% of the things they listen to.”

Certain things are memorable for many reasons. Perhaps it is because we enjoy a certain topic and when people elaborate on that topic we take it in because we find enjoyment and satisfaction in absorbing that. We can also remember controversial things because they divide opinion and cause debates. Or perhaps you remember specific things because of the person that has said them. Perhaps you have great respect for someone, or even an unhealthy obsession with that person.

The words of Jesus are some of the most remembered and quoted things globally because people follow Him and have an undeniable respect and love for Him. Filling our brain with the healthiest things possible is the best course of action – who or what are you listening to the most?

Using words

When I was younger, if I ever swore or said rude things, my parents always used to say to me, ‘Do I need to wash your mouth out with soap?’ Although this never actually happened (phew!), the principle still stands. When we use unhealthy words, there is always a consequence. That consequence may affect you if you get punished, or it could affect the other person/people because they could take it personally and become upset.

“Your words only convey about 7% of what you’re trying to say.”

Are our words really that important then? For enjoyment, I tend to watch a handful of gaming channels on YouTube. As a result, I noticed that eventually I started repeating some of the patented phrases that these people would use. Then I noticed that some of these phrases are actually unhealthy for me to be speaking as a Christian, and I end up reminding myself of this, taking myself away from their influence.

Even though our words count for 7% within communication, I strongly believe our words are crucial. They have power to influence. They matter 100%.

Biblical teaching

A commonly quoted verse regarding our words is taken from the Gospel of Luke.

Jesus says that:
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

(Luke 6:45)

We do not need to excessively dig into this passage to understand what Jesus is trying to say here. Fill your hearts with good, and avoid filling up with the bad. In addition to this Paul instructs the Church in Philippi to think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8-9).

How often do we all actually think about these things? Are we filling our minds with the words of Jesus? Or are we not really that bothered? Just as we fill a vehicle with the correct fuel, let us consciously consider what fuel we are filling ourselves with.

Take some time to ask yourself this question and as you seek God about this topic, ask Him which area[s] of your life he wants you to work on. Then, ask for his help and guidance. Just as I sought to remove those unhealthy influences on YouTube from my life, the temptation still remained and that is the reality of the issue.

Staying strong and resilient in the unwavering truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is our answer. Are you up to the challenge?


Tim has just completed his BA (Hons) in Applied Theology with us at our Christchurch Campus. To find out more about studying for a degree with us, check out our Studying page on the website.

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