The Power of a Word...

Today’s devotional thought:

Proverbs 12:18, "The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."

During the 2015-2016 NFL season, the Minnesota Vikings place kicker Blair Walsh had made an NFL-high 34 field goals. Before the Vikings' playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks, he had converted 33 of 34 kicks inside 30 yards in his career. So when the Vikings were down 10-9 with 22 seconds left and Walsh lined up for a 27-yard field goal attempt, it looked the Vikings would win. But Walsh's kick sailed wide and the Vikings season came to a crashing halt.

In the midst of the social media storm directed against Walsh, a group of first graders in Minnesota set out to encourage the broken-hearted kicker. First grader Allie Edwards said, "Blair was really sad, and we wanted to make him feel better." One of her classmates, wrote, "Dear Blair Walsh, I think you shood keep trying. Don't give up! We still love you! Git better by practicing." Tyler Doffin filled a whole page for Walsh: "Dear Blair: I fell bad for you. Don't give up. You're still #1. Practis more so that you can get better at cicing. You're so good at cicing. So don't give up! Keep trying! We still love you."

The kids' act of kindness got his attention. He was so touched to hear from children who didn't know him that he pushed his flight home back a day to visit the classroom. After the visit he said, "It was very touching to me. … A lot of [the cards] were very pretty and creative. … I will cherish them forever." [sources: Susan Elizabeth Littlefield, "First Graders Aim to Cheer Up Vikings Kicker Walsh," CBS Minnesota (1-12-16); Kevin Seifert, "Blair Walsh is human, so let's treat him that way," ESPN (1-11-16)]

The greatest power you posses is in the words you choose. It's with your words you can build up or tear down. With your words you can encourage or destroy. James says that in this way the words you choose can be like a small spark that starts a great fire (James 3:5). On the other hand, Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:29, "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."

But what your words are really saying is what kind of person you are. For it is your words, more than anything else, which tells of what is in your heart. As Jesus said, "...What you say flows from what is in your heart." (Luke 6:45). Our words show just what kind of hearts we have. When it comes to your words, choose wisely, encourage, build up.

What will your words say today? 

Prayer: Holy Father, we commend to You our words. We ask that You will be Lord of our lives and thus Lord of our words. Fill our hearts with Your love so that these tongues of ours, which praise Your name, may also be instruments to encourage others. In Jesus name, amen.