The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21
The old adage just isn’t true. You know the one, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Well, I’m sure that sticks and stones would hurt and possibly could break a bone or two if thrown or swung hard enough. But to say that words will never hurt me, or you, is just not true.
Take for example the following scenario; a husband comes home exhausted from a long day at work. His wife had been busy caring for the kids and making dinner to be ready for him upon his arrival. He walks into the door and the first words out of his mouth are, “Meatloaf! You can’t make anything better than that?” Do you think these words would bring hurt? Now on the contrary, imagine the same scenario takes place and instead of a criticism, the husband says, “Honey, you are so wonderful! Thank you for thinking of me and making this meatloaf. It smells so wonderful! I can’t wait to have some.” Surely these words would have a different, more positive effect on his wife.
Your words bring life or death into all your relationships. When you speak encouragement, you lift up another person’s countenance. When you speak with kindness, you pour out grace upon the hearers. When you speak words of affirmation and love, you help people to feel accepted and cared for. On the contrary, when you speak disparagingly of another, you take them down and assault their personhood. When you criticize and condemn others in words, your judgment only makes the matters worse. It doesn’t help the person to improve or change, but discourages their soul.
Jesus said, “Every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37) We often consider our speech as nothing more than words, language and communication. Yet, each word we speak is being recorded in heaven. Each of us will stand accountable for the words we speak. God is not just concerned with your actions, although they are of great importance. Realize that the Lord is paying attention to the words you speak because they are a barometer of the state of your heart. “For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34) Oh, how carefully we need to weigh our words! Or as my good friend says, “Make your words soft, you may need to eat them someday.”
Friends, my hope and prayer is that you will recognize the power that is within you. You have great power this day in the use of your words. Power for good or evil is held within the small muscle we call the tongue. (James 3:9-12) Exercise the tongue to speak good things, not just about others, but about yourself. Stop criticizing, condemning and beating yourself up! If you have accepted Christ’s death for your sins, he has taken upon himself the criticism, condemnation and beating. “For God made him to be sin on our behalf; so that in him we can become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) I encourage you to choose this day to use your tongue, not as a weapon of destruction, but as a means of blessing God and others. This Sunday at South Side we will talk about the power of our words. Worship starts at 10:45, and we would love to have you come worship with us!
South Side Church of Christ