by Pastor Tim White
Words do have power. The long history of our understanding of words goes back to the beginning of language. And recently, there was a warranted theological protest in the orthodox Christian community about respecting the power of words over the God who works behind them. It was nicknamed ‘blab it and grab it’ and many Christians stepped back from this position because it induced a false sense of guilt for those who had bad things happen to them. Some Christians going overboard in this area felt like if they were just faith-filled enough, that nothing bad would ever happen to them. When someone came down with an illness it was thought that their own sin had caused it. This was a simple way to look at the world and gave people a sense of control when life seemed uncontrollable; but the whole truth of scripture exposed this overemphasis by having the Book of Job right in the middle of it. Job did nothing to bring all the tragedy in his life. And this most ancient book in Scripture depicted characters as friends of Job who tried to get him to admit it was all his fault. Thus, we have the nickname used today ‘Friends of Job’.
Most “complicated” truths are indeed complicated. There are incongruities that need to be resolved by what seems like contradictions. Here is the contradiction pointed out by the Book of James - Chapter 3. “The tongue is like the rudder of a ship. Be careful of what you say.” You can hurt others by your words, and the most vulnerable target is the people you love most. They are vulnerable because they care about what you say. So, being in a bad mood, you might say something you really don’t mean and leave a lasting scar on someone who you care most for in the world. When you say horrible things about yourself you can hurt yourself. You might be the biggest thing dragging yourself down. And God, in love, tells us be careful about what we say.
In ancient history we know that people all around the globe knew that saying a person’s name was very powerful. Words are powerful but so are actions. And God works deeper than just the present words we speak. He is not confined to the present but can heal the past and pave the way for our future. However, words do have power. “I can” is powerful. “We can” is even more powerful. “I am sorry, with God’s help I want to change.” “I trust you” and on the other side, “I don’t trust you,” can really hurt. “We are through” can be devastating, “you are hopeless” can scar someone for life. Words do have power and God teaches the importance of the balance of the power of our words and the power of His love.
So, join me this weekend as I come back to the pulpit for the first time since my knee surgery. We will grow deeper in our authentic relationship with God as we see the power of words in light of God’s mighty love. It could change your life - can you afford to miss it?
Your friend for the rest of my life,
Pastor Tim White
P.S. If you can, please join us for a wonderful banquet Saturday night at 5:30 with Special Guest: Leon Patillo who was the former lead-singer for the group Santana. I will be sharing about the challenge and dreams awaiting Washington Cathedral this year. I know everyone teases me, but this really is the most important night in the history of our church. It has been quite a party - quite an exciting adventure! Please join us as we tackle the next challenge. Leon will be at all the regular Sunday worship services at 9:30am and 11:00am, and I’ll be teaching about the Power of Words.