“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
Have you ever felt that sick panic of knowing you released information that set in motion things you could not stop?
Or have you watched your husband’s face fall in discouragement at your words?
Or have you felt that uncomfortable, warm flush on your cheeks knowing that what you said wasn’t completely true?
Or have you ever wept quietly in your room knowing you wounded your child with words that just might scar?
I have. I’m guessing you have too.
In case you haven’t fully bought in to the gravity of this subject, I wanted to spend some time at the launch of our Speech Matters series to convince you of just that. Speech matters.
Boy, does it matter.
Proverbs 18:21 tells us that words possess incredible power. And how we love to wield that power will determine the consequences we bear. For good or bad.
Words are not neutral.
They like to pick sides.
So let’s talk risks & rewards based on how we choose to wield the power of the tongue.
As sobering as it is, sometimes the most helpful thing we can do for this fight is remember how high the stakes are and how bitter the fruit of careless speech can taste. Proverbs gives us ample counsel.
If we are untrained and unwise with our words:
- We could mar our reputation and be labelled a fool. (10:18, 11:12, 18:13, 25:9-10)
- We could trouble or ruin our lives. (10:14, 12:13, 13:13, 17:20, 18:6-7, 19:5)
- We could harm or destroy the people around us. (11:9, 12:18, 15:4, 16:27, 25:18, 26:28)
- We could disgust God by using grotesquely what He designed to bless, create and save. (12:22)
- We could create conflict where there wouldn’t otherwise be any. (15:1, 18:6)
- We could destroy our friendships. (16:28, 17:9)
- We could make people want to avoid us. (20:19, 25:23)
- We could render useless all the noble deeds we do. (James 1:26)
- We will have to give an account for every careless word we have spoken. (Matthew 12:36)
- And our words may give convincing evidence that we may not belong to God. (Matt. 12:37)
Oh, our friends might not know our conversation reputation at work, or hear how we speak to our families or what we say about them to someone else, but that doesn’t mean we’ve gotten away with it. Ugly as the reality is, these words are wicked blights on our record like any other sin. And though by God’s grace, they can be forgiven and won’t condemn us if they are, they are nonetheless offenses that cause wreckage now and will require an accounting at the end of our lives.
The risks of using our tongues carelessly are frightening, but if we choose instead to love the tongue for its power for good, we’ll find the fruit to taste far sweeter.
If we are wise and careful in how we employ our speech:
- We could bring life, blessing, healing and wisdom to those around us. (10:11, 10:21: 10:31, 12:18, 14:45, 15:4, 15:23, 16:24, 24:26)
- We can sin less. (10:19)
- We can be spared trouble. (11:9, 12:13, 13:3, 14:3, 21:23)
- We can experience more good and delight in our lives. (12:14, 13:2, 18:20)
- We can enjoy a stable and enduring reputation. (12:19)
- We can delight God. (12:22)
- We can diffuse anger and create peace. (15:1)
- We can expand our opportunities for positive influence. (16:13, 16:21, 16:23, 22:11)
- We can protect our friendships so they endure. (17:9, 26:20)
- And our words will give compelling evidence to our right standing with God. (Matt. 12:36-37)
Though thousands roll off our tongues with little thought each day, they are not the meaningless trifles we tend to treat them as, are they? There is too much ugly to avoid and too much beauty we’ll miss if we disregard the power of the tongue.
So join me next week as we look at our first Speech matter – When our Words Are Too Many!
The sign for this series give-away is almost done – I was told we’d have a photo by next week’s post so stay tuned.
And thanks to all you kind ladies who subscribed to the blog or shared last week’s post to invite your friends along for our study. I have recorded some names. However, unless you send me a quick note or leave a comment letting me know you’ve shared these posts, I can only see how many folks are sharing but I can’t see who’s passing the posts along!
I would LOVE to include you in the draw for helping get the word out, so whether you shared the post last week or share this week’s, please send an e-mail from my site or leave a comment below so I can be sure to include you. I’ll announce the winner in the June 24th post.
Thank you friend!