The tongue has the power of life and death and those who love it will eat its fruit.
This verse is describing the influence of the words that we speak. Can you think of a time when someone said something to you, that stabbed your confidence or made you feel worthless? Has there been a moment where you were just about the make a breakthrough, and those words replayed in your mind and halted your progress? This is something we know to be true because we experience it everyday. Proverbs 15:1 says:
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
According to this verse, if you want to get along with people and avoid conflict and hurt, you need to be kind. You may be thinking, “That’s obvious. Tell me something I don’t know.”
Sometimes we may be speaking kind words, but our tone of voice ruins the whole thing. The way you say something can change the whole context. Honestly, this is something that I am constantly struggling with: what I am trying to say, versus what people are actually hearing. Do you often speak with a sarcastic tone? I’ll admit it; that’s me! Proverbs 26:18-19 says:
Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death is one who deceives their neighbor and says, “I am only joking!”
This may be harsh and over the top considering the tiny bits of sarcasm we use, but it is clear that God calls for us to be straight with those we speak to. In Matthew 5:37, Jesus says,
All you need to say is simply simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
Yes, it’s true that in this verse, Jesus was referring to making promises to others. This verse could certainly apply to other aspects of communication as well.
It’s not just the words that we say, but the words that we don’t say. “The tongue has the power of LIFE and death.” Through your words you can tear someone down, but you can also BUILD THEM UP! Lets take the question from the beginning and turn it around: Can you remember a time when someone spoke something so encouraging to you, that it gave you the strength to reach your breakthrough? Has someone’s words ever brought life into your situation? If not, let me encourage you now. You are a child of the king. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You have a purpose for God’s kingdom. God loves YOU so much that He sent his only son to die on a cross, so that you might have eternal life, and so you can have a personal relationship with the Creator.
Now, you have a job to encourage others! We are to be the body of Christ and a testimony to Him. We are to make sure that we are using our powers for good, and that our words give life and not death.
You’ve got the power! How are you going to use it?