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The Power of the Tongue

Proverbs 18:21 (ESV) -- Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” This statement has been repeated for ages by parents to children who got their feelings hurt by someone’s mean words. The problem with the statement is that it’s simply not true. Words do hurt us. In fact, careless words spoken to us can stay with us for a lifetime. 

This reality shouldn’t surprise us at all. The Bible teaches us that our words carry massive significance in our lives. Our passage today is one such example. The proverb says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” That is a big statement. “Death and life” are in the power of the tongue? We either give life or take life with our words. This is obviously a metaphorical statement, but it is absolutely true. We can either build up with our words or tear down with them. 

Can you remember hurtful words spoken to you in your life? Think about the impact those words had on you. Maybe it was something about your appearance, or your social status. Those things stay with us. Likewise, the encouraging words and affirmations we receive do too. 

As Christians, we need to remember the effect our words have on people. We should be those who give life with our words. We want to season them with grace, truth, and love. The last thing we should ever do is tear others down with our words. There are many temptations around us to tear others down, whether behind their back or to their face. But we are accountable to the Lord for our words. May we use our words today to honor the Lord and love our neighbor. Let’s repent of every ungodly word we speak about others.

Reflection & Journal:
- What are some things said to you that have stayed with you—negative or positive?
- Why are words so powerful in shaping our identity and self-esteem?  
- How can you be more aware and purposeful with the words you speak?

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