“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21)
There are so many ways to look at this verse. Ever since I can remember, it has been a staple in talks about gossip and speaking about others. It seems pretty straight forward! The news and internet are full of stories of the consequences of ill-spoken words; yet there are also uplifting stories due to gracious words. “The power of life and death” – what great power and what great responsibility God has bestowed upon us.
But how often are our tongues directed at ourselves? Although it may not always be easy, it’s easier to catch yourself saying negative things about others rather than at or about yourself. And so often, those are things that would not be coming from God. It’s scary to think of where else they may be coming from!
A deep, deep discussion today with a close friend brought my own issues to light. “Why do you keep losing faith? Why say such negative things?” When all I thought I was doing was being rational and pointing out the hundred and one possible things that could go wrong or didn’t make “sense” about myself or current circumstances. It was kind of a self-check. My words weren’t even negative; they were just “what if” scenarios that never involved things working out in a positive way. (I guess that would make them negative.) “Words are powerful, Miel,” he pointed out. That hit home.
I just have to keep reminding myself that power of words lies in its ability to plant seeds, both good and bad. The mind is a battlefield and saying things out loud gives credence. It’s not that I believe that something good will come to pass because I say it will over and over and over again. But knowing who I am in Jesus and saying those truths over and over again out loud is something I can and probably should practice: reminding myself of the promises written in scripture, specific verses that say who I really am in God, and whose authority I carry.
My own tongue is flawed. His isn’t.
Miel can be reached via email here.