my taste discern what is destructive?”
Wouldn’t it be nice if all the bad and negative words we say instantly left a terrible taste on your tongues? Maybe then, the next time, we wouldn’t speak them.
Do we ever stop to think about what we say?
Apparently not, for what do we do? We praise God, then turn around and spew out negative phrases.
James said, “Words of thanksgiving and cursing pour out from the same mouth. My brothers, this should not happen!” (James 3:10 GNB) “Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water?…No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty pool.” (James 3:11,12b NLT)
Or we speak blistering words about someone or to someone.
David said, “You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son.” (Ps. 50:20 NKJV) Another version says, “You stab your own brother in the back.” (Ps. 50:20 Msg) Why do we do this?
Some say, “I don’t see that my words matter that much.” Well, our words do matter. James also said, “A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything – or destroy it!” (James 3:5 Msg) “What enormous damage it can do.” (James 3:5b TLB)
The words we speak can set our lives, or others, on fire for harm or for good. Our words can bring others to tears or lift their spirits.
Think of the millions of children and spouses who receive tongue-lashings by those who little realize the wounds they inflict with their razor-sharp words. Being verbally abused, they are told, “You’re stupid!” Or “Can’t you ever do anything right?” Or “Why can’t you be like your brother (or sister)?” Or “You’ll never amount to anything.” Or “I never wanted you in the first place.” Or “You’re no good.”
Words leave scars, scars that have never felt the wound of a weapon, to paraphrase Romeo. How many hearts have been injured by insensitive or ill-chosen words, wrecking havoc in their lives and shattering their self-confidence and self-worth?
If these negative words become etched upon the surface of another’s soul, they will play back throughout the rest of that one’s life unless he or she is taught how to deal with them.
Jesus warned, “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults – unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging.” (Matt. 7:102 Msg)
All those words we carelessly let loose are like homing pigeons, coming home to roost on us as they wound others on their flight and ultimately wound the Lord.
The Lord once said to me, “Do not wound My Heart by saying unkind things about those I love, things you could not say to their faces.” We grieve the Lord by what we say, and think, about the ones He loves. Our love for Christ must prevent us from hurting Him with our criticism and judgment of others, whether vocalized or silent.
God is very particular about how we treat His sons and daughters. Would you get upset if someone verbally mistreated your child?
Jesus told the Pharisees, “On the day of judgment men will have to give account for every idle (inoperative, nonworking) word they speak…Your words now reflect your fate then: either you will be justified by them or you will be condemned.” (Matt. 12:36 Amp, Matt. 12:37 TLB)
If we are required to answer for our speech, then we need to be cautious of what fills our hearts and overflows out of our mouths, for, as Jesus said, “Whatever is in the heart overflows into speech.” (Luke 6:45b TLB)
If our tongues speak from the abundance of our hearts, and if Jesus and scripture say our words are critical, then our words truly have extraordinary power and effect. They embody life and death, just as Solomon said, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Prov. 18:21a NKJV)
Especially in today’s climate, as home foreclosures abound, jobs dwindle and are lost, bank accounts become emptied, and sickness spreads, words of encouragement, comfort, and blessing are vital to each person’s mental well being.
Do you care how your words affect others? Do you “kill” others with your toxic tongue or do you speak hope and support into them with words of life? Do you speak harshly to your children or your spouse? How would you talk if Jesus were standing next to you or your pastor came to visit?
Solomon wrote, “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.” (Prov. 18:21 Msg)
Knowing the consequences of his thoughts and words, David was wise to pray, “Take control of what I say, O LORD, and guard my lips.” (Ps. 141:3 NLT)
Do you have a guard set to catch any nasty tasting words from slipping off the end of your tongue?