The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. – Proverbs 18:21
We have two ears and one mouth, so we can listen more and talk less. – Irish Proverb
While the world celebrated the day of the dead, I spent the long weekend on reading and some studying about death and life. Many are intrigued with the mystery of life and many more are puzzled by death whether there is really life after death and all that. But that was not what I was interested on last week. I was more inclined to read a more inspiring one, the Book of Proverbs in the Bible. Well, Jesus Christ Himself had many interesting discussions on death and life but it will entail a longer time to study. So, that would be in my future writings.
Solomon, who is considered as the author of Proverbs, said the tongue can kill or it can give life. It can bring destruction or it can build harmony and unity. It is not the literal tongue but the words coming out of it. So, whether positive or negative, the words we speak will always have an effect on people. We could be sowing hatred, fear and division instead of uplifting and uniting people.
Someone said that physical wound is easier to absorb than hurtful words that penetrate like daggers to the heart and mind. That is the power of the word. Its effect may not be immediate but it will. Physical abuse heals through time but wounds inflicted by the tongue can last a lifetime.
The Book of Genesis made it clear that the heavens and the earth came to being by the words that proceed from the mouth of God. Through His spoken word, man came to life. Words therefore, are meant to create not to destroy. We are supposed to use this gift of speaking to communicate, understand and build up others not to bring them down.
At one time, Jesus cursed a barren tree and it died. Just imagine the power behind that word! Look at what a curse can do. It kills. It kills self-confidence, optimism and excitement. It discourages the person from reaching the potential of life.
It is better to speak to the mountains of problems, hindrances and situations that are in front of you rather than criticizing or gossiping about the weaknesses and shortcomings of others.
The Psalmist prayed that his words be acceptable to God, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your eyes” (Psalms 19:14). Jesus made it clear that it is not what we eat but what comes out of our mouth that will make us unclean (Mark 7:15).
Zig Ziglar, a great author of self-help books once said, “You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life”.
Paul encouraged the Colossians (4:6) to make their conversations to be always “with grace and seasoned with salt” so that you will be able to impart good words.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).
“People who inspire you can do wonders. Seek out the friendship of and surround yourself with people who build your self-esteem” –Robert Schuller.
So folks, let us become life-builders not killers. Let us encourage people not discourage them. Let us bring them up not pull them down. Let us use our tongue wisely. Remember, your tongue is powerful. Use it for the good of mankind.