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Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. James 3:4

Read: James 3:2-5
Listen: James 3


Horses and ships. Two large and powerful things controlled by only a small bit or a simple rudder. James says it’s like this with the tongue. It’s small, but wow, can it be powerful. Words can change the direction of a life.

Whether we realize it or not, words spoken to us have a profound impact on who we are. A hurtful word from a friend, parent, coach or teacher can cause us to create a vow we still live by today. An encouraging word can have the opposite effect. It can give us the confidence we need to take the next step. Words give life or take it. Often an important step in our growth is being honest with how we’ve allowed words to change the direction of our lives. We’ve likely been impacted by both encouraging and hurtful words.

TODAY: Create two columns in your journal. Label the columns encouraging and hurtful. Think through the things you’ve heard about yourself throughout your life and now believe. Put them in the appropriate column. For the things in the encouraging column, consider reaching out to those people and thanking them. For those things in the hurtful column, reflect on how you may have allowed those statements to distort the truth of who God says you are. If you would like to start a conversation about how to heal the wounds of hurtful words, please reach out to care@adabible.org. We’d love to connect with you.


Read Genesis 16-17. Highlight anything that points to Jesus. Note the promise to Abram and Sarai.

Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.