The Power of Words: Adding in the Concept of Sowing and Reaping

Last week we looked at the powerful effects of positive (life) and negative (death) words, both on and in our lives, bodies, and spirit. Today I want to talk about the sowing and reaping aspect of our words.

As I mentioned last week, the Lord has placed on my heart to watch my words, but it’s really a much larger issue. I believe the Lord is calling us all to fortify our spiritual roots and clean our houses (body, soul, spirit), to refine our tuning into God and the Holy Spirit, and to prepare a clean environment for new giftings to manifest and be developed. We simply aren’t able to grow a healthy gifting in a polluted environment.

Do you know or understand the tremendous spiritual weapon you possess with your words? Did you know that your mouth is like a machine gun and that your words are like bullets that can pierce someone’s soul and spirit? Did you know that when you wish ill on others or speak ill of them you can actually be putting a curse in place that comes back on you? Yes, you can, and here’s how.

I think we’ve all heard of the notion of reaping and sowing. Non-Christians sometimes talk about Karma or a sort-of universal cause and effect. We followers of Jesus with a Biblical worldview say, in effect, that we reap what we sow; not just crops, but words, actions, thoughts, and influencing behaviors. If we’re sowing negative or curse-sending words, we’ll reap that (and worse) back on ourselves and our families – sometimes for generations.

In Job – the “poster book” for having troubles heaped upon people – Eliphaz the Temanite tries to justify Job’s predicament based on the seemingly commonsense notion of reaping and sowing, even though Job rejects this based on what he knows of his own life. And, indeed, the concept or reaping and sowing (like that of blessings and curses) weaves throughout the Old Testament, but not always as directly as when it is found in Proverbs with writings such as these: “The wicked man earns deceptive wages, but he who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward” (11:18); “He who sows wickedness reaps trouble, and the rod of his fury will be destroyed.” (22:8); “The faithless will be fully paid for their ways, and the good man rewarded for his.” (14:14), Most relevant to our words, Proverbs 13:3 states: “He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.”

The reaping/sowing notion continues into the New Testament. Second Corinthians speaks of the measure of sowing: “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” 2 Cor. 9:6. Hosea, on the other hand, links sowing to positive benefits we can see in our daily lives: “Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.” (Hosea 10:12).

Together, though, these two notions – the power of words (life and death) and the spiritual law of sowing and reaping – should give us great pause. For it is words, more than anything else, that can so quickly escape and become sown. Certainly, if we sow good or bad words generously versus sparingly, the Bible says we will reap accordingly. But the nature of words should remind us of the nearly impossible task of gauging what even a single negative word can do to a single person. That one bad word, spoken with malice by you or by me, might actually equal a lifetime of words spoken by someone else. In this case, given the power of words and the unmistakable surety of the law of sowing and reaping, I would treat how we speak to others in this world like one might treat philosophy of God through the lens of Pascal’s wager: do not bet your life on uttering a single bad word – whatever finite gain there may be (and I doubt there is any), it is simply crushed by the weight of potential infinite loss.

ACTION: Do you wonder why some people seem always to have difficulties and troubles? Look at what they have coming out of their mouths. Are they curses, slurs, or statements of unbelief? If you look closely, you may just be witnessing the double-whammy effect of the power of words and the spiritual law of sowing and reaping. This week make a conscious effort to speak blessings to and about people, even if you don’t agree with them. If you have done so in the past, make an effort to watch labels you have assigned to people like “stupid,” “ignorant,” etc., especially on semi-anonymous forums like social media. Give people a chance to know our God through your uplifting and positive speech that reaps unlimited benefits. Ask the Lord to reveal any unforgiveness on your part and ask for extra blessings on any people to whom you may have used any negative words. Finally, ask for those curses you have spoken on others to be recalled and canceled. Then thank God for helping you to improve this one really important part of your life!

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