At our Thursday morning prayer and accountability group meeting, there were some pretty big words being thrown around the other day – plethora, diligence, awful (in the best sense of the word), cornucopia. I like the word cornucopia, you don’t hear it used a lot. Reminds me of a word W.C. Fields might use, he was quite the wordsmith.
Words are powerful. Words can build up or they can tear down. Words can heal or they can destroy. Death and life are in the power of the tongue. Do you remember the last time someone gave you an encouraging word? Instantly made you feel good didn’t it? How about something someone said hurtful years ago? You can probably still remember negative comments from childhood.
12 What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.14 Turn away from evil and do good;seek peace and pursue it.(ESV)
4 A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.(ESV)
20 From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips.21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,and those who love it will eat its fruits.(ESV)
1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.(ESV)
Sticks and stones can break my bones but names will never hurt me is nice in theory or as a defense mechanism but it’s just not true, words can be more hurtful than a punch. How are you using words? Are you encouraging or discouraging? Are you restoring or destroying? Are you healing or hurting?
Personally, I need to start biting my tongue to try and get it under control. Everyone knows the old saying, if you can’t say something nice, then say nothing at all. While that’s better than saying something harmful, it’s better to give your tongue over to the Lord and ask Him to help you use your tongue for His glory thereby building up and edifying others.
Start today and start at home. Begin encouraging your spouse and children, using your words to lift them up – the world is going to beat them down, let your home become a city of refuge, a strong tower where everyone is safe. Bless and do not curse.