The tongue can bring death or life….
How often, as we pray, do we ask God for a greater sensitivity to our words? And for a greater power over them? My guess is we all know how powerful words are, especially critical, negative words. If you receive five compliments and one criticism, which has the greatest impact and lingers the longest? And yet, how quick are we to criticize…. There are lots and lots of warnings in the Bible, especially in Proverbs and James, about the power of the tongue. Power to build up and tear down. I encourage us all to give more attention to our words, and to the impact our words are having on others. It begins as we pray.
We are “ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5), not just in our actions, but every time we speak. Every word is a seed, it has an impact: it either builds up or tears down. James reminds us that the tongue is “restless and evil, full of deadly poison(3:7).” He says “no one can tame it.” That’s why we need to pray for our tongue, because the only way it can be controlled is by the heart, a heart submissive to and controlled by God. If we truly want to be effective ambassadors for Jesus, if we want to sow seeds of encouragement and love, we must get our words under control. Not our control, for that is impossible, but under His control. And that takes prayer, and lots of it. Every day, every moment. The effort is worth it: the tongue of the wise brings healing…(Proverbs 12:18); a kind word cheers (12:25); Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body(16:24).
“Lord Jesus, give me a greater sensitivity to the impact my words are having on others. Soften my heart and my mind, that my words, and the tone in which I speak them, may bring healing, encouragement and love to those around me, for your glory, Amen.”