Seriously, words rarely have no affect. Even mindless ones. Actually, it’s often the mindless ones that have the most power.–that create the most damage.
Each time we speak to someone, we’re doing something. Maybe we’re giving a compliment. Noticing something special they or someone else did. Saying something to brighten their day or sharing with them a word of encouragement on a bad day. Could be, though, we’re making a joke at their expense. Talking bad about someone else and bringing them into it. Speaking in a cutting way. Maybe we’re just, as the old expression goes, being generally “down in the mouth.”
Regardless of what is being said, if it’s to another human being, it’s having some affect on someone…either building them up or, even in the slightest way, tearing them down (maybe just by being a bad influence).
The kings of old did that. Of course, they were in positions of great influence, but don’t fool yourself, so are you. Throughout the book of 1 and 2 Kings, each leader is described by how they led, whether in a way pleasing to the Lord or by doing what was evil in His sight. Nothing they did was in isolation. When they did something that was evil in the sight of the Lord, it led the people of the kingdom into sin and had the opposite affect when they were obedient. Again, so it is with us. We need not be kings to ruin the kingdom.
We need to develop the mindset that realizes that whatever we say, we’re either encouraging someone or discouraging them. Building up or tearing down. Ephesians 4:29 says, “No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear.” You know, the thing about foul language is that it stinks! When something stinks, it repels. Not sure about you, but I don’t want to be the kind of person who repels people with my words.
How do we avoid it? Make sure our words are only those that build up and give grace. Be relentless with yourself, taking every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and being slow to speak (James 1:19-20), so that idle words don’t become weapons in the hands of the Enemy (1 Peter 5:8)
Decide to be the kind of person who’s every word is about making and building up disciples.