The power of words and thoughts

This is a translation of a scriptural meditation from the Russian book, “Day by Day”:

Scripture: " Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord ” (Psalm 141:3)

"The word of God must dwell and grow in our hearts. Only then will we be able to help and be useful to those around us. When we are completely filled with the word of God, it will soften our hearts, subdue our temper, calm our riotous thoughts, and fill us with love, which will be reflected in our every word and deed.

"More than anything else, we need to have a guard over our mouth. Forgetting about the consequences of our words, how easily and how uncontrollably we toss off an ill-considered word which can offend, wound or even harm our neighbor.

“For many it seems unattainable to express oneself in a Christian way. Even with the best of intentions we often carelessly touch an open wound and cause pain where we wanted to bring consolation. We must constantly pray that our tongue be subservient to the Lord and that in difficult moments the Holy Spirit teach us what to say (Luke 12:12). Then our words can be beneficial. Our life will never be useless if we learn to serve Christ with our words and use the wondrous gift of speech for His glory.”

In “Letters to Malcolm” (Letter VIII), Lewis writes:

“One used to be told as a child: ‘Think what you’re saying’. Apparently we need also to be told: ‘Think what you’re thinking’…I know this is the opposite of what is often said about the necessity of keeping all emotion out of our intellectual processes – ‘you can’t think straight unless you are cool.’ But then neither can you think deep if you are. I suppose one must try every problem in both states. You remember that the ancient Persians debated everything twice: once when they were drunk and once when they were sober.”

I’me not sure that debating something when one is drunk can lead to a satisfying result, but I think Lewis’s thought is that every deep truth must have both an emotional and intellectual side, and his own final conversion came about in that way, as he writes in a letter of of Oct. 18,1931: “…what Dyson and Tolkien showed me was this: that if I met the idea of sacrifice in a Pagan story I didn’t mind it at all: again, that if I met the idea of a god sacrificing himself to himself I liked it very much and was mysteriously moved by it…Now the story of Christ is simply a true myth: a myth working on us in the same way as the others, but with this tremendous difference that it really happened.”

And Lewis’s words, “Think what you’re thinking”, brings to mind Christ’s words from Matthew 5, 28: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart”, and Traherne’s dictum, “To think well is to serve God in the interior court.”


“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)