Our Words Matter Much

Ephesians 4:29

ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S COFFIN WAS pried open on more than one occasion.

Once in 1887, twenty-two years after his assassination. Why? It was not to determine if he had died of a bullet fired from John Wilkes Booth’s derringer. Then why? Because a rumor was sweeping the country that his coffin was empty. A select group of witnesses observed that the rumor was totally false, then watched as the casket was resealed with lead.

Fourteen years later, the martyred man’s withered body was viewed again—this time by even more witnesses—for the same grim purpose! Finally, the corpse was permanently embedded in a crypt at Springfield.

Rumors can be cruel. Lacking authoritative facts and direct sources, information is loosely disseminated, creating unrest, fear, and harm. That’s why God makes clear the importance of using our words to speak grace, not spread rumors.

Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.


The tongue can pry open more caskets, expose more closet skeletons, and stir up more toxic, scandalous dust than any other tool on earth.

So I submit four suggestions for silencing rumor-mongers:

  1. Identify sources by name. If someone is determined to share damaging or hurtful information, request that the source be named.
  2. Support evidence with facts. Refuse to listen unless honest-to-goodness truth is communicated. You can tell. Truth is rarely veiled.
  3. Ask the person, “May I quote you?” It’s remarkable how quickly rumor-spreaders can turn red—and begin backpedaling.
  4. Openly say, “I don’t appreciate hearing that.” This approach is for the strong . . . but it’s a sure way to halt garbage delivery to your ears.

Here’s the best strategy: become a model of grace and encouragement with your words. Have you slipped into the ranks of the “rumor mill”? If so, I urge you to stop and to reflect on your words.

What you say matters to those around you, and especially to the Lord your God, who knows all, sees all, and hears all.

Devotional content taken from Good Morning, Lord . . . Can We Talk? by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2018. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved. The full devotional can be purchased at tyndale.com.

Posted in Friendship, Grace, Love and tagged .

Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.