The Weight of a Word

Written By: Jeremiah Storkson / Video By: Jon-Calvin Chance

Growing up, I remember my parents telling me not to say specific words. They trained me up not to say words that are inappropriate or wrong to say. One thing they used to tell me was “Jeremiah, if you say that again, I am going to wash your mouth out with soap!” Now to clarify, my parents were not being serious about doing that, but they were communicating something. They raised me to value the words I say and to think about them. One verse I heard often growing up was Ephesians 4:29. It says, “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.” There is a specific truth that this verse means for us.

Words carry weight.

I don’t know about you, but when I look back at my life, I can point out specific words that have shaped the way I think about myself, others, and life in general. Some of those words have had a good effect, as they built me up. However, others have caused insecurity and pain in different parts of my life. Maybe you can relate. The words we receive and the words we speak carry more weight than a lot of actions do. When Ephesians 4:29 says to not let any “unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,” it is not simply talking about cuss words or crude joking: it is talking about things that break down, cause damage, or even disunify. It is talking about words that destroy rather than build up. If you go read the entirety of Ephesians 4, you find that Paul is talking about anger and conflict. He is addressing our attitudes. What words are you speaking into your own life and into the lives of others? Do they build up, or do they break down? Do they bring life, or do they cause destruction? Do they bring unity, or do they divide people? Our words make more of a difference than you might think. So today, choose to speak the good things you think about people. Choose to talk with people, not about them. Choose to speak life rather than death.