Justin Hiebert

Catalyzing Change

Words are power

Posted on 23 Jun 2013 in Christianity, Church, Culture, Teaching | 1 comment

Today’s sermon focused primarily on James chapter three and continue our series on the ‘one anothers’ of Scripture, today we talked about the way we speak.


I’m sure we’ve all heard the phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”[pullquote]Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.[/pullquote] And how many of us actually believe that?

No one?

Precisely. Because we all know it’s not true. Words are inherently powerful.

In fact, in must be said that words are never neutral. They are never unbiased. They are never ‘harmless’.

Words are always doing one of two things: giving life or bringing death.

Negative words bring death, and most of the time they don’t even have to be the big kind of putdowns. Most of the time it’s the small things that we think we should be able to shake and can’t that bother us the most.

99 positive things happen a day, and one negative. Which fills our mind? The one negative.

One person has even called this phenomenon ‘death by paper cuts’. Small, annoying things that weigh us down until we lose our life.

It’s why Paul and other writers in Scripture wrote frequently about speaking loving to one another.

  • Ephesians 4:25 – Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.
  • Ephesians 5:19 – speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;
  • Colossians 3:16 – Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:11 – Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.
  • Hebrews 3:13 – But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
  • Hebrews 10:25 – not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
  • James 4:11 – Do not speak against one another my brothers and sisters. He who speaks against a brother or sister or who judges their brother or sister, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.
  • James 5:9 – Do not complain my brothers and sisters, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.
  • James 5:16 – Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

The point? Jesus followers are to speak differently than the world. In conflict, the world may result to harmful words, putdowns, argumentative language, and verbal abuse. Jesus followers cannot.

Our words have power - to bring life or death

Our words have power – to bring life or death

It doesn’t mean we always agree.

It doesn’t mean we avoid conflict by pretending it doesn’t exist.

It does mean that we talk instead of yell, collaborate instead of speaking as a superior, and speak with humility instead of arrogance. To a watching world, the one clear sign of difference between Jesus followers and everyone else is in the way we adress and speak to those around us. How we use our words (to enhance life or bring death) will tell the watching world everything they need to know about the God that we follow.

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Justin Hiebert

Leadership Catalyst - Entrepreneur - Coach at JSHiebert Leadership Coaching
I am a Business and Life Coach in both non-profit and for profit settings. I coach leaders, executives, and pastors in areas of vision, clarity, and values. In relationship coaching I focus on healthy and sustainable relationships, and in leadership development roles I catalyze change for individuals and groups to thrive. I also consult churches and organizations on how to train new leaders and create a healthy culture. In addition to that, I am an Anabaptist pastor in the Denver metro area. I specialize on topics that include: missional theology, discipleship, culture and the church in today’s society. I am married to my wonderful wife Elise and we have three kids. I grew up and now work in the United States Mennonite Brethren Church (USMB) and love the people and history of the Mennonite Brethren faith. I am a graduate of Tabor College with a dual degree in Youth Ministry and Christian Leadership, a graduate of Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary with a Masters of Divinity, and a Doctoral Student and Bethel Seminary. I also teach college classes in areas of Bible, Communication, and Business.

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