I am not a political writer. I don’t recommend, revile, reject, refer, or repudiate any candidate. I am, however, a person who respects, reviews, refutes, and ruminates on the words that are rampantly recurring and referenced on a regular basis.
That said, I also admit to being almost completely ignorant of anything related to stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other important investments. I know how to manage money but have very little knowledge about investing. But I wonder why no one has noticed something that I think might be worth noticing.
Jim has often told me that I should have been a fiction writer. I tend to have a “healthy” imagination and it is possible that my latest ponderings would be better spent writing a screenplay than a blog. Nevertheless, I think I will share my theory with all of you. I have always believed in the incredible power of words to change the world. I think Donald Trump’s words may be having a greater impact on the world than people realize.
Here is my theory and you can decide whether or not it has any merit. Donald Trump announced he was running for president in mid-June 2015. The following is a quote from a New York Times article the next day: Mr. Trump declared his candidacy in the atrium of the Trump Tower, the luxury skyscraper on Fifth Avenue in New York City, proclaiming that only someone “really rich”—like himself—could restore American economic primacy. “We need somebody that can take the brand of the United States and make it great again,” he said, repeatedly assailing China and Mexico as economic competitors, and pledging to be “the greatest jobs president that God ever created.”
Two weeks later, a New York Times headline read: “China’s Stock Market Plunges.” The article began with these words: “Share prices in China plunged on Friday in one of the sharpest sell-offs in years, accelerating a downturn this last week in what has been, for much of this year, the world’s best-performing stock market.” The market has been struggling since that time.
I have no idea whether or not Trump’s words impacted the Chinese stock market, but I think the timing is, at the very least, interesting. Whoever holds the office of president of the United States has an enormous global influence. Whoever holds that office needs to understand and respect the power that comes with the job. His or her words will matter—all of the time.
The same is true of the words that you and I speak. Jesus was speaking in Matthew 12:36–37 when he said, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” I don’t enjoy teaching or quoting those verses. They are a strong reminder that our words are powerful and we need to be careful how we use them. If Jesus were speaking those words today I am sure he would refer to the words we speak and the words we text, email, tweet, and publish. Our words don’t just impact the people physically around us anymore. We all have an unseen audience on earth—and in heaven.
Our words can harm but they can also do great good. I wish I could suggest Donald Trump and most other politicians keep this verse in mind: Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Psalm 19:14 would be a great pre-debate prayer: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” I will hopefully be able to vote for a person who reflects Proverbs 17:27: “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.”
Those verses weren’t preserved and protected in Scripture for the sake of future politicians. God’s word has been kept for the benefit of his people. Paul told Timothy, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17).
I wonder if Donald Trump’s words had the power to impact the stock market in China. I know that our words have the power to impact the eternal lives of the people we influence. The apostle James wrote one of my favorite books in the Bible. He said, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless” (James 1:26). I think Donald Trump and every other politician would benefit from those words. I know each of us will be blessed if we take them to heart.
My prayer for all of us: May the powerful words we speak, write, text and email be pleasing and acceptable in God’s sight and make our witness worthy for the sake of his Kingdom purpose.
Join us at www.christianparenting.org and chime in on this week’s discussion question: How do you encourage your child’s imagination?