“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (Proverbs 12:18)
When watching hockey, soccer or most other sports, the person we generally pay the least attention to is actually quite vital to how the game proceeds. The referee is important because he is, in theory, neutral. In any sport, the referee isn’t visibly rooting for either team and he can—or should—be perfectly fair when making decisions about things like penalties, fouls and so on. For the fans watching the match, he’s not one of the good guys, but he’s also not one of the bad guys.
Many other things in life are neutral. For example, money can be used to build hospitals, provide disaster relief or give access to education, or it can be used to traffic drugs (or people), silence a witness or buy power. Fire can be used to cook a steak or to burn down a forest or a house. A knife can be used to slice watermelon or to kill someone. The Internet can be used to share good news or to pollute minds and destroy lives.
Words, by themselves, are neutral too. But, just like money, fire, knives and the Internet, if they’re used the wrong way, they can really hurt someone. God wants you to use your words to comfort and love others, to build them up and to speak truth to them, not to destroy them or tear them down.
Destructive words can take on many forms, such as lies, gossip, slander, criticism, mocking, cursing, sarcasm and nagging. Edifying words can include praise, prayer, words from Scripture and even helpful correction. What makes our words powerful is their finality. Once spoken, they cannot be unspoken.
Author Jodi Picoult once said:
“Words are like eggs dropped from great heights; you can no more call them back than ignore the mess they leave when they fall.”
This week, consider the words that come out of your mouth, no matter who you’re speaking to. May the Lord give us all tongues that bring healing.
“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)
If you want to remember this verse, feel free to “borrow” this graphic for your Facebook cover photo (also added to the freebie page here):