“Your words are so powerful that they will kill or bring life.” Proverbs 18:21 (TPT)
The phrase “like a bull in a china shop” is often used to describe someone who is clumsy, bungling, and usually destructive, by accident. Like most people, I have tripped over my tongue and awkwardly said the wrong thing, misspoke and called someone by the wrong name. Those things happen.
But what about those times when it is not an accident and the words come cold and calculating? The Message translation of James 3:10 reads, “You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue-it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!”
By reading and studying God’s word, the importance of paying close attention and using proper care when speaking words to others is poignantly revealed. Luke 6:45 explains, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” Instead of speaking death into a situation, speak God’s Words of life and hope. “That person is a joint heir with Jesus.” When we speak the Word of God over someone or a situation, He promises to keep watch.
Children can benefit the most by words of encouragement. My son was told by a middle school coach that he would never play high school basketball because he was too small and too slow. He added, “he should feel privileged to sit the bench.” I went to the Lord in prayer, rejecting the words of discouragement. 1 Samuel 16:7 says, “But the Lord said to Samuel, do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as a man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
As a mother, the words were hurtful, and unnecessary, but the ball was in my court, how would I respond? My thoughts were anything but Christlike. Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? How did you demonstrate God’s love when someone you love is hurting?
I decided to trust God with the situation and follow God’s Word in Psalms 141:3 (NIV), “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.”
Now the coach’s words were not spoken with malice, and my son was not an all-star at the time. Thankfully others saw the understanding my son had for the game and recognized his love. Within two years he had grown six inches and was playing varsity as a freshman in high school. He now stands 6’4” and played college basketball, starting four straight years. We do not have to accept negative words or curses from anyone. Speak God’s words over your children daily. Give it to God and let Him do the rest.
Sometimes we curse ourselves. Our physical bodies will follow the thoughts stored in the heart. If we start to ponder negative thoughts about our bodies like; “I hate the way I look or I cannot stand my hips, thighs, etc.,” we contaminate other areas in our life. We become depressed and feel sorry for ourselves. This leads to other negative actions like possibly over eating or criticizing others. The seeds of envy and jealousy grow hardiest in a heart of negativity.
Instead of complaining about your body, why not turn to God’s word and say things like, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Our first words each day should be, “Praise God for what you have created!”
Whether your words are clumsy, vengeful, hurtful, or well-intentioned promises un-kept, we are responsible and accountable. Everyone is listening to what you say but only God can help you tame your tongue. He wants to help us encourage, edify, heal and bless. Proverbs 16:24, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 12:18, “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” And finally, in Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
Now, be a real blessing!
Theresa Rowe is the founder of Shaped by Faith, a fitness expert,
radio and TV host and motivational speaker.