One word rightly applied can make a tremendous difference in the life of people. Proverbs 25:11, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”
One word has made such a difference as to change church history. The Latin Vulgate was the almost sole scripture of the Western church for over 1000 years until Erasmus compiled the New Testament in its original Greek text. It is said that the Protestant Reformation is seeded in Erasmus’s Greek text because a comparison of the Greek with the Latin revealed numerous weaknesses in the Latin translation. For example:
The Vulgate translates the Greek word “metanoeite” into the Latin word “paenitentiam.” It is thus rendered in English as “do penance.” Properly rendered into English, it is “repent.”
Erasmus discovered what most of us now know. There is great difference between repentance and doing penance. Penance is us trying to work our way out of a hot spot. Repentance is a change of heart and life direction through faith in Jesus. That became the basis of the Reformation. One word has made all the difference in church history and billions of human hearts.
It is not likely any of our words will make such a difference in the world. However, speaking the right word, in the right place, at the right time can change someone’s gloomy day into a brighter one. It can mend a broken heart, give hope to the hopeless, or strengthen the faith of the weak. It can be “apples of gold in pictures of silver.”
Sometimes the words are so simple as “I’m sorry,” or “Please forgive me.” They could be “I understand. Let’s put it behind us.” The best ones of course are, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”
Look for places where one good word will change someone’s world. It may change the destiny of a human soul.