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Speak LIFE … Your words have power … and they can kill


Do words matter?

Can things said in a moment of anger or as a joke change your life or that of the people around you?

I am sure we all know of people who have said things they wish they could take back because it led to a bad situation.

There is a story in the Bible about how one man’s ‘careless’ yet ‘justified’ words adversely impacted his family … and he did not realize it at the time.

To put things in context, I am going to let the Bible ‘speak’ for itself and then share a few insights at the end … read on!


17 So Jacob put his wives and children on camels,

18 and he drove all his livestock in front of him. He packed all the belongings he had acquired in Paddan-aram and set out for the land of Canaan, where his father, Isaac, lived.

19 At the time they left, Laban was some distance away, shearing his sheep. Rachel stole her father’s household idols and took them with her.

20 Jacob outwitted Laban the Aramean, for they set out secretly and never told Laban they were leaving.

21 So Jacob took all his possessions with him and crossed the Euphrates River, heading for the hill country of Gilead.

25 Laban caught up with Jacob as he was camped in the hill country of Gilead.

30 I can understand your feeling that you must go, and your intense longing for your father’s home. But why have you stolen my gods?”

31 “I rushed away because I was afraid,” Jacob answered. “I thought you would take your daughters from me by force.

32 But as for your gods, see if you can find them, and let the person who has taken them die! And if you find anything else that belongs to you, identify it before all these relatives of ours, and I will give it back!” But Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the household idols.


19 So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).


I believe Rachel died in childbirth because of the oath Jacob made in Genesis 31:32.

Yes, it was unintentional because Jacob did not know she had taken the gods, however because of this oath, it’s likely he lost the woman he had worked 14 years for.

Jacob was a man of God and, spiritually, his words carry some weight. As a matter of fact, the Bible says that ‘the tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences’.

Let’s look at this from Jacob’s perspective. Think about this, everything was finally coming together for Jacob … his favourite wife who had been barren for so long was pregnant with a second child. He now had the wealth, the blessings and was on his way to his destiny BUT because of one rash statement, made probably out of frustration, he lost his loved one. The untimely death of Rachel will also lead him to favour her children, create rivalry, cause his other children to be jealous and, but for the grace of God in Joseph’s life, could have led to murder.

Be careful of the words you say and the oaths you make … they can come back to haunt you. We now live in an era of grace so it may not result in a physical death, but we can ‘kill’ our loved ones emotionally. Words once spoken can take root and do damage for a lifetime. Words like:

– you will never amount to much
– you are hopeless
– you are inferior
– you are ugly
– you are a mistake and we wish you were not born
– you are not as smart as your sister

While words like this may not kill physically, they may have the same effect by ‘killing’ initiative, self confidence, potential and self worth and can end up destroying that persons life.

Whenever you have a choice, pause, think about the impact of your words and speak LIFE, speak HOPE into that situation.

Be blessed.

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