In Part 1 of the Think Before You Speak Series, I addressed The Problem With Venting. It’s time to take a closer look at the small, yet critical force that is our tongue, and I’d like to begin with a story…
“Well, ya know, I mean the Bible tells us to love everybody. So yeah, I guess I love her.” Ouch. Those were the words I heard when my former Pastor asked my boyfriend at the time if he loved me. We’d been having problems, and with talk of marriage it was imperative that we ironed our issues out. Needless to say this comment was the nail in the coffin, and I cut ties with this individual almost immediately. I should’ve felt free and confidant, knowing that I would no longer have to spend any energy on someone who wasn’t worthy of my love and devotion. I should’ve been relieved to have this toxic person out of my life. I should’ve been able to shrug my shoulders and forget the hurtful things that were said, with as much ease as the shoulders shrugged who said them. Alas, the story didn’t go that way. His statement (among other unpleasant ones) left me feeling empty, insecure, and inadequate. The harsh words could not be taken back, and the pain I experienced was not easily overcome.
Friends, did you know that our words have the potential to cause harm? I shared this with you to clearly illustrate what can happen when we underestimate the power of this tiny member of our body. For all intensive purposes it’s nothing more than a necessary organ for eating and speaking, but used in the wrong way unspeakable damage can be done.
Proverbs 18:21 (NKJV)
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
Have you ever said how broke you were financially and wondered why your income never increased? Maybe you’ve been sick and instead of claiming your healing you cling to your miserable state as that cough or sore throat sticks with you for days. I’ve heard teachers or parents refer to a struggling child as slow or stupid (breaks my heart!) ,yet they act surprised when they bring home a failing grade. The reason for this cause and effect is because we’ve turned our thoughts in to action and given place to those actions by the power of our words.
Luke 6:45 (NKJV)
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
When we speak death in our circumstances (negativity, defeat, hopelessness) that’s exactly what we’re going to receive. On the other hand we can speak life (faith, love, and hope with a Godly perspective) and reap the benefits of using our words wisely. This is not only true when dealing with our personal situations, but also in what we share with others. Are you bringing joy and peace, or harm and destruction into the life of someone else? I’ve been on the receiving end of both (as I’m sure we all have), and as much as the words of exhortation have lifted me up, words of devastation have also caused my spirit to come crashing down.
Ephesians 4:29 (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.
Proverbs 15:4 (NLT) Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.
I once heard a Pastor say the fork in the tongue is like the road. We choose which direction to travel, and with the help of Holy Spirit we can be kept on the right path. I understand that this message is not a new one, but I’m trusting it’s one that’s being shared in due season. Each and every day we’re given numerous opportunities to use our words for good or for evil, and as James describes below, we ought to show the tongue the respect it deserves. Let us all take a moment and consider how we can do more to “tame” the untamable tongue!
James 3:5-12 (NLT)
5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. 6 And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. 7 People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? 12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.
Be blessed and stay tuned for Part 3!
Are you speaking life or death into your circumstances?
Do you encourage or discourage others when you speak to them?