The Bible says in Proverbs 18:21 that death and life lies in the power of the tongue . Recently I have been pondering on this verse again. There is truly so much treasure locked up in this one verse. Treasures that we can discover as we start to ponder and meditate on these words.
Words can be used to create as we saw in the very beginning of creation as God spoke into darkness and created the light. God spoke the universe into existence. In the same way I believe our words have the power to create. We can use our words to create good if we line up our speaking with Gods Word or we can use it to destroy as we choose to agree with the accuser of the brethren – Satan.
That brings me to the subject of my discussion today. As I observe people around me I more and more notice the tremendous effect that we as humans have on one another through the words that we speak. Words that we often disguise by justifying it to ourself with some Christian motive but words none the less that criticize , break down and negatively affect the person that happens to be the focus of our discussion. The Bible calls it gossip. Proverbs 18:8 says ” The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts.” What an interesting way to speak about gossip. As I was meditating on this the reality of these words dawned on me as I thought back of gossip that I have heard in the past. Not only did I not really know this person but my perception of this person was positive and the possibilities of building a healthy relationship wide open. That is until I heard the gossip. Immediately a seed is sown in your mind and many years later I still struggle to get rid of these thoughts when I interact with this person. Just like the Bible says – that gossip was like a choice morsel of food that went deep down into my inmost parts.
This of cause is not only true of the person hearing the gossip but also of the person that happens to be the center of the gossip. As this person hears the words spoken about him or her they can penetrate deep inside and stay there for many years. It causes a chain of bad emotions and thoughts that may take many years to get healing from.
It is so easy to fall into this trap of speaking badly about someone else. Many times it is motivated by our own insecurities as we struggle to understand someone else’s actions. We try to make sense of a situation in our own minds and the only way we can do it is by criticizing someone else instead of taking it to God and asking Him to help us. Even though we might be justified in our perception of the particular event we are still urged to put a guard in front of our mouths and to keep our opinions to our selves. Once our words have left our mouth it is very difficult to take them back.
Words have the power to crush someone’s spirit and to break someone’s heart. Immense power comes out of our mouths when we choose to direct our words on a specific person, directly or indirectly. At times our words might not have such an extreme effect but it still leaves a scar, like an arrow that is shot into your body and even though you pull it out the scar remains and takes a long time to heal and if not dealt with probably there will always be a scar.
Fortunately the verse in proverbs has two sides: the one speaks about death but the other speaks about life. The question is : Can and will we as Christians work on limiting the words of death that comes out of our mouths and make a decision to increase the words of life. I promise you that if you make the right choice, the world around you will be a much better place. (A.P)