Friday, June 8, 2018

Life and Death are in the Power of the Tongue. Are you Speaking Life?

Today, someone I really admire gave me some encouragement.  It wasn’t prompted by anything I said or did; it was just given to me freely, without anything expected in return. And you know what? It was nice to hear.

I spend the majority of my day focused on others: my high school students, my husband, and my kids.  I pour out and don’t really stop to expect anything in return because it’s my job to tend to the needs of others. Encouragement doesn’t come often, but when it does it’s like taking a bite of chocolate cake.  I don’t really crave it, but when I take a bite, it’s like I should have been eating it all along.  Loving, kind, encouraging words just feel good. Maybe you can relate.

Words have power. They can build someone up or they can do major damage. Scripture is full of encouragement to use loving words, but also warnings to keep watch over our tongue because it is the most difficult member of the body to control. Sometimes the words just fall out of our mouths and before we know it, we’ve wounded someone we love.  James 3:5-6 tells us the tongue is a fire. “How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!” How do we keep more control over this dangerous weapon?  How do we use the power of words for good and not evil?

Hiding His word in our heart by memorizing scripture is a wonderful way to keep our words loving and positive.  Luke 6:45 tells us out of the abundance of our heart, our mouths speak. Speaking truth to ourselves, especially in times of stress or hurt, can help to keep us from setting fires with our tongues.

Speak Praise

My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day. (Psalm 71:8)

Sometimes I forget how big God really is.  It’s easy to think of God as a loving, gentle Father, because He is. But we also need to remember this is the same God who created all things, who is yesterday, today, and forever, who is holy, is good, owns the cattle on a thousand hills, who made the lame to walk and the blind to see, and sits on the throne. Psalm 147:5 reminds us, “Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.”

When we acknowledge His attributes, it puts our own lives in perspective. He is so much bigger and holy than we can fathom yet loved us first and sent Christ to die for us.  Speaking words of praise exalts Him and reminds us to love Him, which in turn helps us to love others.

Give Thanks

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples. (Psalm 105:1)

Over and over we are encouraged to give thanks. There is no one more deserving of our thankfulness than the One who gave us life and every good thing. If our mouth is full of thanksgiving it is harder to speak unkind words and when we remember that God’s grace has covered our sin, it is easier to show grace to others.

Speak Life

The soothing tongue is a tree of life. (Proverbs 15:4)

Throughout our day, we have so many opportunities to build up by speaking truth and life into another. Take some time today to speak loving words to your spouse, your child, your friend, or a stranger.  A small gesture can make a significant impact.

Speak Peace

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)

When something annoys us, or conflict arises, our first response can be to lash out.  You know as much as I do that no good thing ever happens as a result of hurtful words.  One of our roles as a Christian is to be a peacemaker.  Notice I didn’t say peacekeeper. A peacekeeper avoids conflict, but a peacemaker will resolve a conflict using truth, respect, and kindness. A soft word can diffuse a tense situation so we must use self-control and gentleness.

Love God and Love Others

Part of loving God and loving our neighbor includes watching the words we speak.  We must give our praise to the only One worthy of that praise, we should have hearts of gratitude that express thankfulness to Him who is exceedingly good, and we must be careful that our words build others up and not be used for destruction.  It is not an easy task to control our tongue, but having a mind and heart full of scripture plus a desire to seek His face everyday can help to ensure that our words are “like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body” (Proverbs 16:24).

How can you speak life into someone today?


Unknown said...

Thank you so much for your gentle reminder of the power of the tongue. I have recently experienced just how powerful and hurtful the tongue can be and have been prompted to begin a study on the tongue. Your blog has been the kick-start. Keep moving forward!

Hannah Boyd over at Barefoot In A Holler

Crystal Russell said...

What a great reminder to stop and just encourage the people in our lives today