The Power of our Words

“Rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”  Proverbs 12:18

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”    Mark Twain

“In anger we should refrain both from speech and action.” Pythagoras


There are many Old Testament references about God “being slow to anger.”While I am not God, I think I am, generally speaking, slow to anger. Now I do get angry. In anger, my words have caused damage and hurt feelings. I am not proud of that, but I am working on it.

For the last three months I have been working with an accommodation because of a back ailment. I completed paperwork, visited my primary care provider regularly, and kept in contact with the accommodation coordinator (who is in Wichita, Kansas!).

At the beginning of July I was notified I would need to apply for a new accommodation since my case had been closed. To say that I was angry was an understatement. I attempted to respond by e-mail and deleted each of my efforts. I needed to cool down. I needed to be rational. It took a couple days. When I composed my response it probably took me three hours (there were a lot of revisions). I came to the realization that I needed some understanding AND assistance. I had my doubts about how much of either I was going to get, but I knew belligerence would guarantee me more frustration and a lot more paperwork. I wasn’t sure what to say so I reviewed the notes of my primary care provider and I found my solution. Each note had included the phrase “pending MRI.” I explained that the plan had never changed and the course of treatment had not changed. We were continuing the same plan. Guess what? The coordinator agreed! The time  taken to cool off and compose a coherent response had resulted in the desired outcome. God is good. All the time.


“Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.”  Ephesians 4:26

“Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.”  Ephesians 4:29


PRAYER: Loving and gracious God, we are thankful you are slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. All too often we fall short by the things we do and the things we neglect. We live in a world where rhetoric is harsh and words are used carelessly. Let us use wise words which bring healing and build up others. Help us manage our anger so that positive solutions and outcomes are the norm, not the exception. All this we ask in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Nathan Martens