Once a king dreamed that all his teeth had fallen out. Immediately he sent for one of his soothsayers to interpret the meaning of the vision. With a sad countenance and mournful voice, the soothsayer told the monarch that the dream meant that all his relatives would die and that he would be left alone. This angered the king and he drove the servant from his presence.
Another was called and the king told him of the dream. At this, the wise man smiled, and replied, “Rejoice, O King; the dream means that you will live yet many years. In fact you will outlive all your relatives.” This pleased the king a great deal, and in his joy he gave the interpreter a rich reward.
The two men had said, in different ways, the same thing.
The power of words is illustrated in the account of creation in the first two chapters of Genesis where God speaks the world into existence. As he spoke words, stars were formed, oceans appeared and planets took shape. He spoke and rivers teemed with fish, flowers bloomed and galaxies began to spin.
As humans created in his image, we too are given the power to create worlds with our words. We speak and reality changes. Through positive truthful words, people are renewed and healed. Through criticism and lies, people are damaged and destroyed.
The apostle James writes of the power of the tongue in James 3.
“3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.”
“8 …no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”
The power of our words is immense. They have the power to change lives: to build people up, and to knock people down. How will you use your words this week?