Death and life are in the power of the tongue. That is what it says in Proverbs 18. Our words can make a huge impact for good or for evil. What we say has an effect on others. Our words can either be life changing, or earth shattering.
Most of us were taught the common manners while growing up. Our parents scolded us when we said something mean spirited or had a spiteful tone in our voice. They really rebuked you when you talked back to them. You were probably told to speak kindly to your sibling. You were told to stop saying things that would be considered cruel.
Rarely are we good at remembering those lessons. Sometimes we face constant frustration from an individual. Perhaps they are speaking to us in a hurtful and demeaning tone over and over again. We would like nothing more than to tell them exactly what we are thinking. We want to hurt them like they have hurt us.
The average Christian cannot be recognized apart from others by their speech. We curse like the rest of them, say crude jokes, speak with hostility, tell people to go to hell and burn there, etc. My jaw drops at how often I see just horrible language and motives to people’s words as Christians.
It was the consistency to this problem that helped spur me on to start my own blog. I saw Christian blogger after Christian blogger resort to swearing, crude joking, and demeaning others in order to get more views on their bog. I was sick of it. I was tired of people forgetting the impact their words had.
What is the big deal about swearing? They are just words? Who cares if I give a crude joke it’s not that big a deal. Why should I be careful speaking harshly towards others? Don’t they have a thick skin like I do? We need to take more responsibility for the things we say. We speak in order to be like everyone else. Some Christian use the crude joking in order to lure the rough crowd to listen to them so they can tell them about Christ. Rarely do I ever see Christ proclaimed after a while form these types of people.
Others of us simply speak out of hatred. We speak hatefully towards Christians with a different view than us. We tear down others because we were hurt by someone else. Maybe it is not even blatant hateful speech. Perhaps we are simply impossible to please. You always need to give a point of criticism. You always need to address something negative. We say it is to help the person become better, but the consistency to it just tears them down. It is always so sad to me when I see a parent or sibling constantly ride someone in their family with “constructive criticism”.
What if we started building others up? What if we spoke hope into the lives of others? There is plenty to be gloomy about in this world. What we need is a little bit of joy. Are you speaking with love and compassion, or are you acting out in anger with your words? Are you using swearing and crude joking to “be real” or are you reaching out to others without compromising your testimony? Are you killing someone’s spirit with your words, or are you building hope and encouragement into the lives of others?
One final thought. Not everyone is going to grasp the power their words have on your life. When people hurt us with their words and place us with burdens it is our natural tendency to want to give that hurt to someone else. Take those things to God. Let him take those burdens of pain off your back. Give him every comment that said you were never good enough, never had value, were never pretty enough, never smart enough, or that you were a constant disappointment to someone. God is your creator, and He finds value in you. Now go off and help someone else release their burdens.
There is power in the tongue. How are you going to use it?