Our spoken words have a power of their own. They have the power to heal, encourage, edify and they also have the power to wound, hurt and destroy. Too often we may find ourselves being careless and thoughtless with our words. Instead of thinking before we say them, we just spew them out, wanting so much to be heard. As followers of Christ, we are to be lead by the Holy Spirit and our words are to come under that leading. In fact, one day we will give an account before God for our words. Matthew 12:36,27 NIV 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” That’s really a sobering thought. It should make us want to run to God and ask for forgiveness for all the foolish, hurtful and untruthful things we have ever said.
I’ve been asking God to remind me how important it is to speak wisely. I too often, love to blurt out a response without thinking about how it may affect others. First off, before I speak is it something that is pleasing to God? Is it true? Is it hurtful? Does it build up or tear down? God’s Word has lots to say about the way we should use our words. Here are just a few verses for us all to memorize….
Proverbs 21:23 NIV 23 Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.
1 Peter 3:10 NIV 10 For,“Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.” We need to guard ourselves against falling into the pattern of spreading rumors, lying or speaking anything that would go against the Word of God, if we want to see good days!
Proverbs 12:18 NIV 18 The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. I don’t think most of us realize the damage that can be done when we speak recklessly but often we wound others including those we love the most, by speaking without thinking first.
For such a small organ, “the tongue” is capable of doing much! James lays out its capability for good and evil and reminds us that we are to use it for good!
James 3:1-25 NIV 3 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body,sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heavenbut is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
I remember my Mom telling me as a young child, “Think before you speak.” There’s a lot of wisdom in that saying. My prayer is that God will gently remind me every time I speak out of fear, anger, bitterness or any other thing that is contrary to the Word of God. I want my words to bring blessing and healing into this broken world of ours. Instead of using our words to tear down, lets follow the words of David in Psalm 34:13 NIV 28 My tongue will proclaim your righteousness, your praises all day long!