The words of a man’s mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook. A fool’s lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes. A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul. The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly. Death and life are in the power of the tongue. (KJV Proverbs 18:4, 6, 7, 8, 21)
I’ve been doing a study about what the Bible says about our words. It is phenomenal how many times the topic of words, mouths, speech, or speaking appears in the Bible. Even without being a Bible scholar, we know that words impact us in tremendous ways. The teacher who tells a child they are a wonderful artist may foster an ambition in that child that they will pursue the rest of their life. The parent who tells a child they are ugly or stupid has imprinted them with inferiority for the rest of their days. A spouse that says, “I don’t love you anymore. I’ve found someone else,” can crush a heart in those few words.
“You’re beautiful,” will give a girl confidence. “I have faith in you. You can do this” will make a person try harder. “You’re the best player on the team,” will make a boy dream of playing for a pro sports team and make him practice more and believe it is a possibility.
The examples could go on and on. We’ve all had powerful words spoken to us and about us in our lives for good or bad. And likewise, words pour out of us that can either deliver wounds or lift others up.
Matthew 12:34 says, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Whether we realize it or not, the things we say show who we are on the inside.
Are you a person who is critical of everyone and everything? Do you constantly talk about yourself and never listen to others? Do you whine and complain all the time about other people not treating you well? Are you constantly talking about how bad you feel? Do you stir up gossip? Not only does this show that there is something unhealthy going on inside of such a person, but the spoken words reinforce what is wrong instead of making it better.
Are you a person who encourages? Do you tell people they are loved and appreciated? Do you praise others when they have done a job well? Do you thank people who help you or serve you in little ways? Do you bless others with your words? People are drawn to those who speak words of life.
The choice is yours and mine every time we open our mouths. I have had to pray about some of my attitudes and repent for some of my words. I am willing to acknowledge my shortcomings before the Lord and ask for His help and forgiveness in the ways I fail. In truth, everyone I know has a lot of room for improvement regarding the words that escape their lips. Telephone conversations, gatherings with friends, words spoken in secret, or prayer time – God hears every single word that comes out of our mouths.
During this Thanksgiving and Christmas season, let us speak words of thanks, appreciation, love, encouragement and kindness. Let us make a conscious effort to let the words of our mouths be full of life and blessings to those around us. Perhaps the most significant gift we have to give each other during this holiday season is the gift of our words. Their power will endure long after the wrapping paper and bows have gone in the garbage bin.