Thank you choir for the beautiful anthem. That is a hymn that we sang a lot at my father’s funeral, it reminded me of my father’s funeral. And thank you praise team. Wonderful, really inspirational praise. Two weeks ago, I think two weeks ago or a few weeks ago, I talked about being kind and I mentioned that. Be kind in your words that you speak and also put a smile on your face. Those two things we should do. And today’s a lectionary passage and it deals with the words. So I’m going to deal with the words a little bit more in-depth today.
Word’s are God’s gift to us so that we may be connected with each other and we may share life together. Without words how can you enjoy the party? You go there, you don’t understand anything. You just listen to music. Even if you listen to the music. What meaning is there without words? How can we enjoy beautiful books and beautiful movies without words? How can I communicate God’s message to you? Words are powerful, James knew the power of the words very well. He said, “our words are like a small rudder. It is very small, but he controls the huge ship, the direction of a huge ship. It is like a small fire, but it can set ablaze a whole forest.” We have a problem with forest fires in Ontario, BC and California, but often they start with a small fire. James knew how powerful words are. James seemed to focus on the negative side of words because that congregation has so many problems. So he tends to focus on the negative side of it. Yes, if you speak your words from anger and hatred, they can damage others, no matter how nicely you say it. If you speak from anger and hatred, that can damage other people, words can kill people, literally kill people. I experienced the negative power of the words myself. When I heard that nasty word, it was like being hit by a hammer. I was stunned for a while, I couldn’t even move. The verbal violence can be as cruel as physical violence if not worse. But speaking from your heart is not the same as speaking from hatred and anger. That is speaking from raw emotion. Speaking from your heart does not mean that you speak from your raw emotion. Those two are two different things. Speaking from your heart means speaking from care, speaking from the truth, speaking from love. Words spoken from your heart have power, more power than those words spoken from hatred and anger. They have the power to empower others and build others up. Our words can kill people, but the words spoken out of deep meditation and prayer can save people.
Words Form You
You know these days I find it very very disturbing to hear political leaders speak not from the heart, but from anger, prejudice, and hatred. I just get so shocked to hear what they are saying. How could they say that in public, their words do not free people or empower them, they insult people, downgrade people and oppress the weak. They promote anger, they promote prejudice. That’s not what words should be used for. That’s not why words were created in the first place! Don’t let words come out of your mouth without careful consideration. If you did not carefully consider the words, don’t speak them. We should never speak carelessly and mindlessly. We should always speak from our heart. You cannot just say what you feel like, you cannot just express your raw emotion in a raw way. We cannot do that, but many people do that because it is so hard to control our tongue, to tame our tongue. James said, “no one can tame the tongue,” how difficult must it be that he said no one can tame the tongue. And he further said, “anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect.” The person who makes no in speaking is perfect. He describes even that, what you say shows who you are. It shows your maturity, your integrity. What you say is who you are. People who are always negative, every word that comes out of their mouth will be negative things. People who are always thinking about filthy things, the words that come out of their mouth will be filthy.
Hold Your Tongue
Tame your tongue. When you speak from your heart, people appreciate it. They feel your sincerity. You don’t have to say much, little words from your heart can carry more weight than thousands of empty words. Always speak from your heart, you’ll find the right words to say and God will tell you what to say. If you have a desire to speak from your heart, then God will give you the words to speak. Don’t use words to manipulate others. That’s not what words are for. Don’t use words to manipulate others. Don’t use words to suddenly make yourself look good and others look bad or inferior. Use words to lift up others. Words are God’s gift to us so that we can build each other up, words are not your weapons. Words are not weapons! Words are God’s gifts! They are not weapons to attack others and crush them down. That’s not what words are for. It is sad to see the most beautiful gift God gave to us become so ugly. Slander, gossip, backstabbing, unfounded criticism, curse, foul language. When we use these words, not only do we poison other people’s soul, but we ourselves become very darkened. When we use these words, the words that curse that come out of your mouth will return to curse you. We need to restore the beauty of the words, words of hope, words of encouragement, words of empowerment and words of love. The words that bless that come out of your mouth will return to you to bless you. As we speak positive words, we become positive without even realizing. When you continuously speak positive words, then you become positive. But if you continuously speak judgmental words, then you become judgmental.
Words That Glorify
As we speak words of thanksgiving, we become filled with thanksgiving. As we speak, words of love, we become full of love. As we speak words of hope, the hope will come alive within you. When words come from your heart, they glorify your existence. There’s a magical power in words. When you speak from your heart, those words glorify your existence. As we speak beautiful words. We become purified. Don’t ever say foul language with your mouth. If you do that don’t say that you’re a part of St. Timothy. Just say that you go to church somewhere in the west end. Even as a joke, don’t say foul language. There’s a very strange restaurant in North York, it is a Korean restaurant and the title of the restaurant is [inaudible] if I translate the name, which will be soon bankrupt and as small little title after a thousand years. Don’t even play with words. Yes, it is hard to tame our tongue, but I do believe that we can do that with the help of the Holy Spirit. We have lived our lives with a bad habit of our tongues. That’s why we should keep disciplining ourselves. I’m sure it is very difficult because it is ingrained within you. You have done it for so long that is a part of you, but I think we can do that with the help of the spirit through spiritual discipline. As we try to discipline ourselves, we’ll build spiritual integrity. Keep the manner of words, especially in the church, especially to those who are very close to you, to your spouse, to your friends, to your children. Don’t say anything because you are emotional. Don’t say anything. You’ll regret it. You’ll regret it. Maybe you’re already regretting it. When you’re filled with anger, don’t speak, be silent because you will say something you’ll regret later. Just be quiet and when you’ve calmed down, then speak from your heart. If possible, let your words be gentle and kind. Being tough is not being rough. Those two are two different things. You can be tough by being gentle and kind.
Speak to Yourself
The last point, you’d not only speak from your heart, but you also speak to your heart, to yourself, and to your soul. Do that. Don’t only speak from your heart, but speak to you yourself. That’s what Isaiah, that’s what these people did. Hear this, the Psalmist, “Why are you cast down oh my soul?” He’s speaking to himself. “Why are you cast down oh my soul and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God for I shall again praise him, my God.” He told himself to have hope in God. You’re gonna tell yourself right now, so tell yourself, “don’t worry.” Do it!. “Don’t worry.” Tell yourself, “do not fear!” Tell yourself. “have hope in God!” Whenever you are troubled, speak to yourself and use your words to praise God. And if you have some scripture passage that you’ve memorized, whenever a situation comes, recite them. Isaiah, he met God in the temple and the first thing he said is, “I am a man of unclean lips.” And then God sent a tongue of fire and it burned his lips. Purification starts from here *gestures heart*. Not from here *gestures brain*. Purification starts from here. Purify your language, purify your words, then your soul will be purified. Be positive with your words first and then your heart will become positive. Be clean with your lips. Then your heart, your soul will be cleaned.