“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21 (NKJV)
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Do you remember this old adage? It would often be heard on a schoolhouse playground as children were teasing each other, pretending not to be bothered by the insults that came their way.
But our pretending doesn’t end with childhood; as adults, we try to convince ourselves that the sting of sharp words does not affect us. The truth is, we are deeply wounded by the verbal abuse we encounter on a daily basis. And we’re not immune to being abusers ourselves. As we interact with others, we must choose daily whether we will use our words to bring hurt or healing.
James summed it up best (James 1:19) by saying that we need to be slow to speak, quick to hear, and slow to get angry. As born again believers, the nature of God should help govern our hearts and minds. It is up to us to choose words that are not offensive to God and our neighbors.
My challenge to you today is to begin to focus on what is going on in your heart. The Scriptures tell us (Luke 6:45) that out of the abundance of the heart, our mouth speaks. Have you paid much attention to this connection? If you are housing bitterness, anger, or resentment, you are sure to spew out poison towards others that cross your path. Our words can either heal or destroy relationships. It is up to us to determine the outcome we desire.
Father, forgive us for not always paying attention to the words we speak. May we allow You to create within us a clean heart and renew within us a right spirit. Let the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight, oh Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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