Break Free – The Word Trap


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Have you ever SAID something that trapped you?  Like, as soon as the words came out of your mouth you realized “Oh…..no……”

Our words have a lot of power.  Words can bring things to life.  Words can kill.  Words can stick with us forever.

Most children learn the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” We all know this is a lie.  How many of you have been hurt by words?  So we need to deal with the word trap today.  Let’s check out what the Bible has to say about using our words:

James 3:2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.

3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

We’ll unpack this today so I can encourage you to break free from the word trap and use your words to build up, not tear down-to bring life, not death.

Words Guide Us Into Traps or Into Freedom

James 3:2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. 3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.

 We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. There is nothing inherently strong about a bit, but when used properly it can wield great power to overcome the natural strength and will of the relatively mighty horse.

Likewise, a person’s tongue is small and weak compared to other muscles (try lifting a paint can with your tongue), but it has power to guide the actions and will of the entire body.

How You Speak Reveals The Condition of Your Heart

James 3:5b Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

Most of us are smart enough not to say anything out loud…but we’ll think about it, hold it in, and as soon as we get home we’ll post it.

It’s usually very public and very vague like : Oh so you stop talking to me? You do know you owe me…

Or:  And I’m the one who needs to grow up? #yougrowup

Some of you don’t think…at all…about what you say, you just react.  And in those reactions, I can tell a lot about your heart.

Here’s what Jesus has to say:

Matthew 12:34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

Comments you post on YouTube or Instagram OR what you retweet reveals you still have wickedness in your heart JUST AS MUCH as saying it out loud.  So you didn’t cuss them out in the cafeteria, but you did use social media to lash out.  ALL of your speech, whether audible or digital, reveals what your heart is like.  Are your comments giving life or death?

Words Will Trap You

James 3:7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

The internet is forever

Did you know that the Library of Congress is allowed to digitally archive all your tweets that are more than 24 weeks old?  (That means what you said about your momma belongs to the government)

Proverbs 12:13 Evildoers are trapped by their sinful talk, and so the innocent escape trouble.

There are 2 ways your words will trap you:

Things you say about people

Facebook (again) made this a big deal when it launched Timeline and marketed that you Star your favorite moments to make them widescreen, or remove the ones you want to hide.

In essence, we’re giving you a chance to go back and delete anything embarrassing before it goes “public”

Lies you tell

You ever been caught in a lie?  You tell a lie to cover something up.  Then you have to tell another lie to keep your first lie in tact.  And the longer this goes the more you forget who you’ve told what until eventually something doesn’t add up and you’re busted.

Words will trap you.  But the Bible encourages us to be “excellent at what is good, be innocent of evil.”

I don’t want to be really good at hiding things I say.  I want to be really good at encouraging others.

I want my words to be a source of life, not death.  I don’t want to spit poison, I want to soothe with good words.

How Do We Respond To This?

Let’s look at the last part of our passage:

James 3:9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Breaking free from the word trap is more than just not cussing.  It’s about learning to praise God, encourage believers, and speak life to the lost.

Our words can either be like salt water, which, if you’ve ever had it, is just awful, and it can eventually kill you.

Or they can be like fresh water, which makes you feel so much better after a drink of salt water.

And just like a tree, our life can’t produce two kinds of fruit.  So our words will either be the kind that build others up or tear others down.

If you find yourself constantly using your words to hurt, damage, or vent, you might not be saved and you need to repent.

Let’s be like Jesus and use our words to bring life.

May you break free from the word trap today.

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