The Damaging Power of Words


Job 19:1    Then Job answered:
2     “How long will you torment me,
        and break me in pieces with words?
3     These ten times you have cast reproach upon me;
        are you not ashamed to wrong me?


Job’s “friends” had continued their verbal attack on him. Somehow, thinking that they were helping, they searched over and again for the underlying reason for his suffering. Their attitude became as harmful to him as his physical suffering. He was broken in pieces by their words.


Think of everything that Job had suffered — the loss of family, worldly goods and his health! This was all overwhelming and the pain that he was suffering on a daily basis was incredible and yet, it was these words from his “friends” which were pushing him over the edge.

We use words rather casually and often without thought of the consequences. These days we have multiple opportunities to share our words. In a moment of frustration we post something on Facebook. We tweet without a filter. Or, we take to a blog and we write in righteous ways about our thoughts, somehow convincing ourselves that everything must be known and it doesn’t matter who may be hurt in the process.

Long before the world of social media Job’s “friends” were immortalized as the example of words gone wrong! Words spoken in public, in private, on social media — they are destructive. They cut people into a thousand little pieces — and God is not pleased!

Job’s friends did not seem to be ashamed to wrong him. We should be ashamed when our words are destructive to the character and life of another individual. At the same time our words could also be used to bring healing. Let’s not find ourselves in the annals of history with Job’s “friends.” Instead, let’s be intentional about using our words to build one another up in Christ. May our words become the healing balm that knits the broken pieces back together.


Lord, please help me to use my words for the building up of your kingdom. Amen.

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