The Power of the Tongue

Lately God has placed on my heart the need to guard my spirit and watch my words. We have all heard the scripture from Proverbs 18:21, which says that the tongue has the power of life and death. While we may not ascribe to a literal interpretation of these effects to our words, many of us likely believe that the thrust of this proverb is that the power of life and death means that we may certainly build people up (life) or tear them down (death) with our words. But now look at the verse in its entirety and in context with verse 20.

Proverbs 18:20-21
From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled;
with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied.
The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.

This indicates that the verse/wisdom is not intended to be one sided, affecting only the person to whom our words are directed. Indeed, as we speak “life” or “death,” we ingest those words as food into our bodies, thus significantly affecting us as well. It makes sense that when we speak kind, encouraging, loving words our spirit and our bodies are affected positively. Likewise, when we speak hateful, vengeful, cursing words to others we will take in that negativity and poison our spirits and our bodies, including our hearts. We eat the fruit of the words we speak, and we fill our stomach with that harvest. It creates a vicious cycle because what we take in fills the stomach and the heart, and then “out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

Saints, my heart is broken and my spirit is troubled by the ugliness of the words being spoken in our world today — especially by people claiming to be Christians. Please work to break this cycle and speak kindness, encouragement, and positivity out of love to everyone you meet. Resist the urge to join in the hate, and protect your spirit and body from the acid rain of ugly, hateful words. Remember that the words you choose not only affect you in this life. They also have ramifications for the life beyond. For Jesus said, “But I tell you that [persons] will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matt 12:37.

ACTION: This week take notice of your words and ask the Lord to reveal any ugliness in your heart so you can pull it out by the root. Ask Him to heal that area and plant His love and His word in that spot. Ask Him to remove any scales from your eyes and hearts so that you can begin to come back into alignment with His love for HIS people.


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