2 Kings 2:23-24
23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!” 24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys.
Whether young or old, the words you speak can have a significant impact on other people and on your destiny. We can use words to do great things such encourage, praise, correct, advice, give instructions and show gratefulness. However, words can be used for negative things such as discouragement, mockery, swearing, gossiping etc. Whether words are spoken, written or communicated in any other form, it is important that we use our words wisely for the glory of God.
In our scripture we see a group of boys who mock Elisha and the result of their actions is devastating. Your words can build or destroy. This lesson will focus on the importance of using words wisely.
- The impact of words
- Words can breakdown
The problem we have in society is that words are often used carelessly. People use their words to communicate various sinful things, we will focus on a few important in this lesson. As young people the words we speak have power and in our scripture the boys from Bethel used their words to mock and disrespect Elisha (a prophet of the Lord) because he had a bald head. Sometimes people will sin against us with their words although we have not said or done anything to them.
We live in a society where mockery has become common and in most cases disguised as humour. It is very common for people to make fun of others just because of the way they look. Verbal bullying is a common occurrence in schools were other children tease, insult and intimidate. We have all been created uniquely by God, some people are short, some tall, some people have small eyes some big eyes, some people have a lot of hair some have little or no hair.
Whatever it is that makes someone seem different, we should accept them with love. Mocking someone just because they are different is ungodly and as children of God we are called to not associate with people who make a mockery out of other (Psalms 1:1).
Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
We currently live in a society where the use of offensive language (curse words, swear words) is common and it has just become part of the way people communicate. These words are common on TV, music, social media, movies and blogs. Many people justify the use of these words because they are angry or under stress. The bible warns us to not let any harmful words come out of our mouths because they cause destruction.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Your words can destroy other people. In some instances words spoken may cause severe and long lasting harm compared to physical hurt. The way you convey or respond to an issue can have a lasting impact on somebody. Many relationships have been destroyed because of hurtful words someone said to another person.
These words can be through a negative talk, gossiping, rude responses and deceitful words. As young people we need to be consistent with the use of our words, you cannot use clean words whilst with adults and use vulgar language with your friends. The use of your words ought to be an example to other people so that when they have a conviction on how they use their words especially when you are present.
Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.
- Using words to build
Words can be used or so many good things, we will focus on a few important ones.
Encourage and compliment
Godly words can bring life to a dead situation. So many young people harbour feelings of discouragement, hopelessness, defeat and inadequacy. The words you speak upon a person’s life maybe the encouragement they need to get through life. Speaking life means saying things which bring hope and ignite a will to continue despite what a person is facing in life. So often people will respond to a motivation and say “those were the words I was longing to hear”.
As young people let us point people to hope in God through our words. The word of God is full of encouragement scriptures such Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Just hearing the words from this scripture can rejuvenate someone!
Instead of mocking someone you should compliment and uplift them. Focus on what they do well instead of shining the spotlight on their defects and shortcomings. The words you say can show that you genuinely care and love.
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Witnessing spreading the gospel with our words
We are called to witness to other people through our words. We are called to boldly reach out to people and use our words to reach people. Your words are to carry hope in Jesus for those who are destined to perish because of sin. Jesus commanded the disciples to go and teach people through the process of discipleship. Effective discipleship involves the use of words to teach people about God’s word. God’s word is important because it leads people to life.
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The words of God
As a young person, your vocabulary must be filled with the words of God. Meditate on the word of God you will be able to do what pleases Him and resist temptations to sin. To know the words of God you must read your bible daily. As you read God’s word He will reveal things and give your direction. Use your words to pray to God because He is attentive to the prayers of His children. Use your words to glorify God through praises and worship.
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
This book of the Law must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night, so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in all you do.
- The blessing of using your words wisely
The boys who cursed Elisha used their words carelessly and they were cursed. They suffer severe physical harm as a consequence of their disrespect and mockery. There is a consequence for how we use our words. Words used wisely can be a blessing and lead other people to flourish. When you use your words to impact people for the good, they are able to reach their full potential. In addition, God also blesses you as His child.
The saving of souls happens when we use our words to speak about the things of God. Your words should help people turn away from sin and towards God who gives life. Quite often it easy to use our words to entertain and tell things which hold not eternal value. Our calling as young believers is to be a blessing to others by using our words to boldly proclaim the word of God to the lost.
As young people we need to be careful how we use our words. We will be held to account by God based on how we used our words.
But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Let your prayer be for God of help you use your words wisely and for the glory of His name. May your conversations bring life and your interactions lead more and more people to know Christ.