Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Our Words Matter

I have a dear friend who has made a resolve to use her mouth to speak only words of kindness about others. She strives to uplift with her conversations, following the scriptural admonition to “speak the truth in love.” She is conspicuously absent whenever conversations turn to gossip or critical evaluations of Church leaders.

Our words to each other matter. I was struck with the vividness of the image used by Timothy in these verses:

But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker... 2 Timothy 2:16-17

The phrase profane and vain babblings can also be translated as worldly and empty chatter, irreverent talk and godless, foolish discussions.

Canker in 2 Timothy 2:17 means gangrene, translating the Greek word from which the Latin gangrena and the English "gangrene" are derived. Some translations use the word "cancer." RSV translates the passage:

"Avoid such godless chatter, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will eat its way like gangrene."

Such is the power of language. And how important it is to remember the corrosive nature of unworthy speech.


  1. James 3: 5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!

    Our words can never be taken back.

  2. Huh, my husband and I were just talking about saying only kind things the other day. Reminds me of the 13th article of faith, "...If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or PRAISEWORTHY, we seek after these things."

  3. I like this. Thanks.

    Steven Montgomery

  4. Thank you Donna, I am getting ready to give a talk on Sunday and I feel what you shared with us will be one of the points of my talk. This is a hard one for me but this post is going to make a difference in my life. I just felt the Spirit as I was reading and I know every commandment, especially those that appear to be harder than others, is there for us to follow it, not to ignore it. It is so hard to destroy the "natural man" within us. I miss you. I surely cherish the time we spent together. Thank you for being there, even when you don't know it :)

  5. Gentle words, kindly spoken, often soothe the troubled mind; while links of love are broken by words that are unkind....