16,000 Chances

by Justin Smith on July 19, 2023


"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be." James 3:9-10


We’ve all felt it…the sting of a harsh word. Whether wrapped in a joke or delivered with hurtful intentions, words have the power to do greater harm than just about anything else. According to a study done by ABC News, a person averages 16,000 spoken words per day. Before us are 16,000 opportunities daily, 16,000 choices daily, 16,000 chances daily to build up or tear down, to encourage or discourage, to inspire or infuriate. That’s some incredible potential for so much good…or harm!

This came to mind as I read through James 3 today. We’ve been given a gift by God meant to speak of His goodness and to share of His hope, but left unchecked and subject to the whims of our emotions it can bring unspeakable harm, pain, and damage.  James challenges his readers to live out their faith by properly handling the gift of their tongue. He describes how a tiny spark can be the catalyst for a destructive fire, so too, a misplaced word can bring about unfathomable destruction and harm. He goes on to say, “…Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be…” What we’ve deemed as “normal, allowing praises and curses to freely flow from the same source, is out and out rebuked by James. This flippant way we’ve used our mouths “should not be”, he says as he exhorts us to recognize the power of our words.


How will you choose to use your tongue today?

Our words can have a lifetime of repercussions, and we get to choose if those repercussions are for good or for bad. A word of encouragement can inspire and change a person’s trajectory, while a sarcastic remark can cut deep and leave lasting scars. May today be a day we choose to use these 16,000 opportunities to share hope, to speak courage, and to show His love.


Jesus, thank You for the precious gift of our tongue which we can use to praise You for Your goodness, to encourage Your children, and to share Your love. Taming our tongue cannot be done with our own strength, so please grant us the discipline and will. May we redeem our 16,000 opportunities today to honor You. In Your name, Amen!


Previous Page