Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
There is nothing more destructive than a person who can not control their words. This is true whether the words are spoken or written. We were made in the image of God and as such, we have been given the same power that God used in creating the worlds. You look at the first chapters of Genesis and you will see these words:
“And God said……”, and whatever He said, happened. We have the same power to speak into someone’s life and make a difference. We can build them up, or we can tear them down. We can encourage, or we can discourage. We can bring life or death.
This is very evident in the suicide death of 12 year old Rebecca Sedwick in September. She jumped from a tower to her death after being stalked and taunted on Facebook. She was bombarded with hateful words until she decided to end it all. So you see, REAL DEATH was in the power of the tongue.
REAL LIFE can also be in your power if you will speak words of life to everyone around you. You can help someone become greater than they thought they could be if you will help them see their potential.
The real story is that your words speak more about you than it does of the people around you:
Luke 6:45 (ESV) The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
What you say, tells who you are. Ladies, when someone else looks nice in the new dress they bought do you complement them, or does the jealousy rise up and come out your mouth? Worship leaders: when someone new comes into your church with an obvious gift for singing, do you allow God to use them, or do you squash them so they will not look better than you? Preachers: same thing. Do you stop a person who is obviously called by God to teach when they begin receiving complements from the people in the congregation? Is your first thought, “they are getting the attention of everyone. I can’t let that happen. They will draw people to them and split the church.” Or, is your first thought, “Wow, together we can build this church big! I am going to use their talent for the good of everyone.”
When there is evil in the heart, it comes out so readily that the person does not even recognize it. They leave a path full of bodies that are injured and bleeding. Some are so turned off that they stop going to church all together. When will we learn to change what is in our hearts so that good will come out our mouths?
Make no mistake, what is in your heart will come out in your words. The key is to fix the heart. No jealousy, no envy, no hatred, no lust, no pride.
The 3rd chapter of James is all about the power of the tongue:
2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. 3 Indeed,[a] we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.
You can read the rest for yourself. Oh, I left out verse one. Verse one tells you who this whole chapter is aimed at:
1. My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.
Did you know that this whole dissertation on the tongue is aimed at pastors, teachers, etc.? Why would James do that if a problem did not exist? The truth is, there is as much a problem today as there was back then. Preachers are given an audience of vulnerable people who are affected by the words they say. Make sure you build people up. Not just when you are in the pulpit on Sunday, but also when you are with them on Monday. You will be held to a stricter judgment.