Have you ever said something and then immediately wished you could take those words back? I think all of us are guilty of that at some time or another. The Bible speaks a lot about the power of our words. In fact, Proverbs 18:20, 21 says:
A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth; From the produce of his lips he shall be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
Those are pretty powerful statements! In fact, listen to how the New Living Translation speaks of those two verses:
Proverbs 18:20, 21 NLT Words satisfy the soul as food satisfies the stomach; the right words on a person’s lips bring satisfaction. Those who love to talk will experience the consequences, for the tongue can kill or nourish life.
How quickly can words spoken break the spirit of a person? As soon as they hit! Words either kill or nourish life!
The book of Proverbs offers much wisdom for everyday living when we adhere to it’s principles.
Proverbs 20:15 NLT Wise speech is rarer and more valuable than gold and rubies.
Evidently God wants His people to watch what comes out of their mouths!
Many times in the New Testament we hear Jesus say to His listeners: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matthew 11:15) Why? In John 6:63 Jesus said that the words that He spoke were spirit and life. He spoke forth life to His hearers, not death. The word of God is living and powerful according to Hebrews 4:12:
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Maybe people should start to speak the word of God over themselves, their families and their friends. What do you think would happen if your speech changed? What if people began to tell themselves that they are a child of God, made in His image and likeness with the Spirit of God living within them; that they are able to do all things through Christ because of His strength within them; and that they are not a loser, but a winner through Him who loves them? Do you think they would begin to feel differently about themselves? According to the New Living Translation on Proverbs 18:21 they would be nourishing life within them.
What if people began to tell their children what a blessing they are to them instead of criticizing their every move? Would there be less children wanting to take the lives of their friends and teachers? What if wives told their husbands how much they appreciate them instead of complaining that they don’t make enough money or take them out to eat often enough, or buy them enough nice things? What if husbands would compliment their wives on their looks instead of belittling them for putting on a few pounds? Do you think it would make a difference in their relationships?
I talked with a young woman this week who was terribly hurt by the words that her husband had spoken to her in a time of anger. She said he had crushed anything precious that she had thought of their marriage. I thought “how sad” that someone who had vowed to love and cherish another individual could dash all hope of a lifelong love and crush another’s spirit through just the words that came out of his mouth. And yet we hear of it all the time. One after another is wounded by the piercings of the tongue!
Psalm 57:4 My soul is among lions; I lie among the sons of men Who are set on fire, Whose teeth are spears and arrows, And their tongue a sharp sword.
James speaks of the tongue in James 3:6 as being “a fire, a world of iniquity.” “The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.”
James 3:8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Ephesians 4:29-32 NLT Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, He is the one who has identified you as His own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words,and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Oh my, folks, how we need to guard our tongues! How we need to be conscious of what we are saying to each other! May our words be uplifting and encouraging!
Father, I pray today that we will be aware of the potential for life and death that we hold in the words that we speak. May we remember, Father, to guard our tongues that we might nourish life and of ourselves, enjoy a long life. Father, I pray that the words that we speak will be words of life; words that You would speak over us that we might bring life to those that we talk with. I ask You, Lord, to help us catch ourselves before we speak things that would wound another individual. Father, place a guard over the door of our lips and remind us to think long and hard before we speak. I pray, Father, for those who have been wounded by the piercings of another’s tongue. I ask You to heal the brokenhearted and wash over them with the healing balm of Gilead; remove the arrows that have pierced their hearts and cause the hurtful words to be remembered no more. Thank You, Father. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.