There is one thing my first grade teacher, Mrs. Harpan, taught us that has stuck over the years. She taught us the old saying, "If you can't say anything nice...don't say anything!"
I would be very mistaken if I never touched on the power of our words and how ugly our tongue can be. The book of Proverbs is drenched in words regarding our tongue. I am amazed at the power our words can have on us. Something, flippantly said years ago can still seem to have weight on who we are and others today.
This chapter alone has quite a few:
2 A fool finds no pleasure in understanding,but delights in airing his own opinions.
4 The words of a man's mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.
6 A fool's lips bring him strife, and his mouth invites a beating.
7 A fool's mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul.
8 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts.
13 He who answers before listening— that is his folly and his shame.
20 From the fruit of his mouth a man's stomach is filled;with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied.
21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Let's look at three areas of our life:
Our past, we need to look back and remember the words of our past. First, let's make sure that we have not wronged anyone with our words. If we have, repent and apologize to them. Our words now can bring healing. But, also do not forget the words that have been said to us that have hurt and run deep. The words that have now become our inner dialogue about ourselves and have shaped who we are as individuals. Let's forgive and listen to what Christ has to say about us. Let's change the words that might have defined us in a negative way.
These verses remind me to guard my words in the present. How often that is so easy to forget?! In my own life, I need to watch what I say to my husband, my children, my family, my church family, my friends, my neighbors and even my enemies. My tongue, as verse 21 says, has the power of life and death. I want to bring life to my world around me. Help us Lord to watch every word.
In the future, we need to remember these verses. These verses will be a tool to help us control our mouths. There is one verse that stands out, it is a key for future words; 13 He who answers before listening— that is his folly and his shame. If we can just listen and think before we speak; maybe...just maybe we would be able to begin to control the tongue. We must remember that we need to bring all that we do into submission of Christ. On our own accord we will never be able to tame the strongest part of our body.
Lord, help my words bring You Glory and with that I will...
Check out my friend's perspective on Chapter 18!