The Power of Words

The Power of Words 

There is a well-known passage from Genesis 27 telling us about the circumspect blessing of Jacob. Isaac had planned to bless his eldest, Esau, but his wife Rebecca and the other son, Jacob, connived as to make sure Jacob got the blessing instead. 

Once Isaac discovers the ruse, he groans in frustration, but he doesn’t take the blessing back. The blessings left his mouth, his hand was laid upon Jacob’s head and the blessing is done.  

We are left a little baffled. Why doesn’t Isaac simply take the blessing back? If our child would have done something sneaky like this we would have said, “No sir, buster, that blessing was no meant for you, it was meant for your brother! Go sit in the time-out chair!” 

But, no. Isaac knew the words had left his mouth and nothing he could do would pull them back. Isaac knew words have power as did Rebecca, Esau and Jacob. They had power then and power now. 

The truth is, even for us, we know words have power. We know we have to be careful for just that reason. A poem by Will Carlson says it well: 

“Careful with fire,” is good advice. “Careful with words,” is ten times the price. Thoughts unexpressed may sometimes fall back dead; But God himself can’t kill them when they’re said. 

After words are spoken, we can’t take them back. We can add onto them. We can amend, but words are like helium. Once we let them out, they are gone. Words take off and they can either do damage or good. 

We don’t think in terms of curses these days, but we still have curses: A curse is something which lingers to cause sadness. We still do that unfortunately. When we speak in anger or share a rumor, we curse. We have been on both sides of the cursing. We have said things we wish we would had never said and were frustrated when we can’t take them back. We have also been on the other side, when someone has said something thoughtless to us. Their words hang in the air. They linger. Curses exist. 

But the good news is words have just as much power to bless.       

Back in the 1970’s when Egypt and Israel were at odds, part of what changed the tense atmosphere was when the two leaders, Menachum Began and Anwar Sadat simply talked about their grandchildren. Their words alone made all the difference in the peace which happened next. 

Words are as powerful now as ever, if we just use them. Words can bless people for their whole lives. Whether it is the loving words of parents or the encouragement of teachers, words make a difference.  Isaac blessed Jacob. It changed his life.  

Whose words changed your life? 

How can we use our words to linger happiness? 

It is easy enough to curse, what can we do to bless? 

Together in Christ, Pastor Steve  

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