Life or Death?
Proverbs 15:1-4 “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness. The Lord is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good. Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”
There is an old childhood saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Can we be honest and expose this for the lie it truly is? Words can and will hurt. Sometimes we may not realize that the words we say are hurting someone else, but in most cases we know what we are doing, and we use words to hurt people or to tear them down. Sometimes we justify ourselves, saying it is for their own good or that it will help make them stronger. We say, “I am just paying them back for something they did to me,” or we respond with a deep cutting word in the heat of an argument or conflict. The truth is, speaking death - words that harm or tear people down - is not good or helpful or anything else we may try to dress it up as.
As believers we are called to speak life into those around us. That means changing your mentality whether with your family, friends, co-workers, church family, or simply the people around you. Speaking life starts with us. We have to make the decision to build up and not tear down, to look for the positive instead of the negative, to inspire, to motivate, to encourage, to empower, to equip. To speak life. Imagine our schools, homes, churches and cities if each of us decided to speak life into the hearts of others.
Take a few minutes to listen to the song “Speak Life” by Toby Mac or “Words” Hawk Nelson and then take the challenge to speak life. Find someone today to speak life to. Maybe it is someone who is down or depressed and needs an encouraging word. Maybe it is someone you have previously wronged with your words. Choose today to be a life-giving fountain with your words (Proverbs 11a).