The tongue is a funny thing, as James says it’s a tiny organ but it has so much power, not just over what we say but what we eat. How much of our food intake is governed by how it tastes, by the thought of that sweet treat or salty savour on our tongue?
But it is talking that I want to talk about. I read a proverb today that made me go hmmm.
Words have power in matters of life and death,
and those who love them will savor their fruit.
At first glance, my brow furrowed and I began to turn the phrase over in my head, the turning over continued as I thought about what to write today so here goes.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.
This is the conclusion I had come to. Our words are powerful, we can use them to build or to destroy. Even the smallest phrase can have repercussions we never imagined. I know I have been decimated by a throwaway comment that in my head I know was not intended to hurt me but in my heart pierced deep. Part of that is a lesson not to be over-sensitive of course but words have power. The saying ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me’ is possibly the most incorrect thing anyone ever says. Bruises, broken bones heal but wounds to the mind and heart sometimes remain forever.
Jesus says being angry with someone is the same as murder, calling your brother a fool puts you in danger of hell. (Matthew 5:22) So our words can bring death to people and situations and the result is death, destruction, heartache, sorrow for ourselves. The truth is we reap what we sow.
Conversely, when we speak blessings, encourage people, build people up we also encourage, build up and bless ourselves. When we speak life to people we get life in return. We all know how much more pleasant it is to be around people who are positive, who look on the bright side, who are optimists and who are ‘sunny’.
If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, if we are trying to walk like Jesus then our words should bring life. Jesus came to bring life and abundant life so we should be doing the same. I know it’s hard sometimes in situations to speak kindly, to be positive, to encourage butI guess that’s part of dying to ourselves, carrying the Cross, walking the narrow path.
The Message sums it up pretty well so I’ll finish with that.
Words kill, words give life;
they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.
If we have to eat our words, and it seems we do, let’s be sure they are sweet and wholesome.