Faithlife Sermons

Proverbs: Words that Hurt/Words that Help

Proverbs  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Sticks and Stones...

I wasn’t a big fan of Ancient and Medieval History. But my dad wanted me to take it as a high school freshman, so I did. And I struggled. I loved to read biographies. I hated to memorize dates and related facts. So I got D’s and C’s. But what I remember most about the class is not my poor performance, it’s my teacher’s assessment of me and her comment to my parents: “Don’t be too hard on Jon, he’ll probably never be more than a ‘C’ student.” Funny to me that, nearly 50 years later, I can still fill the judgmental sting of those words.
What we say…what we don’t say, matters — possibly for a long time.
Let me give you another example, a composite from our pastoral counseling. We’ll call her ‘Sally.’ She is in an oppressive marriage. Maybe her husband professes Christ, maybe he doesn’t. In either case, he uses words to keep Sally under his harsh control. He’s never physically hit her. But he dominates her. He threatens her. He continually criticizes her and belittles her in front of the kids. His words sting as they accuse, belittle and berate her. Sometimes he even uses Scripture in a twisted way, like the time he forced himself on her, saying she needed to submit to him and give him his marital rights.
Today I want to do 3 things: 1st a survey of what Proverbs says about words — about communication. My thesis is this: words can hurt or words can help; they are rarely neutral. 2nd I want to move from Proverbial do’s and don’ts to the power of the gospel to change our hearts and therefore our tongues. And 3rd I want to show you a simple biblical application of these truths in 2 parts.
Words can hurt; words can help.
1/6 of Proverbs about words (Newheiser)
Because of Christ we can ()
To God
To One Another
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