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Kerry Lytle

October 7, 2023

Proverbs 16:24, (NLT)

"Kind words are like honey-sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." That’s a saying I learned when I was kid. While sticks and stones may very well break our bones, I have to disagree about words never hurting us. A kind word to a person could mean the world to them and likewise, mean hurtful words could have a lasting effect on an individual. 


You probably know the pain of regretting words you have spoken - words of pride, dishonesty, envy, gossip, or anger. Although you can restore bruised relationships through forgiveness, spoken words can never be taken back.


Proverbs 18:21 says that life and death are in the power of the tongue. What does it mean by “in the power of the tongue?”


Life and death are in the power of the spoken words that come out of the heart. Luke 6:45 (NLT) says, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."


With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness (James 3:9).


When the Bible is talking about the power in the tongue, it’s talking about the words we say.


Words are containers of power that create action. They build up or they tear down. Words have the power to bring life or death physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This isn’t magical. It’s a matter of cause and effect.


So, in what ways do our words affect us and those around us?


First is physically. Words can bring life through encouragement, or a kind warning. For example, a person gives hope to a suicidal person, or a person going through a severe dark time.


Next is emotional. What we say has a profound impact on other people’s hearts.


A crushed or traumatized spirit shuts down their emotions, in essence killing them. Words that carry life can bring the dead emotions back to life through healing.


The good news is that we have a choice over the power of the tongue.

The issue of life and death has always been a choice. From the beginning, God has always given us a choice between life and death.


The power in your tongue is ruled by your choice. Humans are the only creation of God that have the ability to choose their words.


However, that can be difficult to master.


But no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:8) (NLT)


God has given us the way to choose life and tame our tongues.


How do we tame our tongue to speak good and not evil? First, we need to rely on God’s strength. We need the Lord every day, with everything we do and face– and that includes what words to speak and how to speak them.


Dedicate your heart and tongue to the Lord each day. We face new circumstances and new conversations every day. Regularly acknowledging your need for discernment and God’s grace helps you remain conscious of your words. “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14, NLT)


We have to assume responsibility for every word you speak. God desires that you speak the truth and that you keep your word. He will hold us responsible for what we say. “Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36, NLT).


Your words indicate what is in your heart. In trying to control your tongue, think of what Philippians 4:8 (NLT) says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” When the thoughts of your heart are focused on what is good and true, your words will reflect it and bring honor to God and to others.


Being filled with Jesus fills our hearts with life and puts right and pleasing things in our hearts.


Remember, life and death are in the power of the tongue…choose to speak life!

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