“But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.” — Matthew 15:18, NIV
What do compliments, advice, insults, instructions, lies, grumbling and truth all have in common? They are all types of powerful words, both good and bad. Words seem like such a small thing. However, words can have a great impact.
Whether it be in the form of verbal speech or written communication, it is important for us to recognize the weight our words carry and the consequences, both positive and negative, that can result. The Bible has a lot to say when it comes to words and how to wisely handle both our hearts and mouths.
The Power of the Tongue
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” — Proverbs 18:21, NIV
For most of us, there has been a time where words have impacted us for good. It could have been a compliment or guidance or a wide variety of other things. On the other hand, many of us have felt the injury of words before as well.
Proverbs tells us that, “the tongue has the power of life and death.” Words have so much influence they can cause a person’s life to change. For example, words have the power of life when we share the good news of Christ with others and encourage fellow believers. However, words have the power of death when we use them for deceit and harm.
“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” — Proverbs 16:24, NIV
As Christians, our words should be of the life-giving variety. We should use our words to graciously build others up. The Bible makes it very clear the value in having kind and thoughtful words rather then quick ones.
In Proverbs, gracious words are compared to honey and said to be sweet and healing. Small gestures of kind and gracious words may make someone’s day or even change their perspective. It does not take a lot of our time or energy to be courteous and thoughtful with our words, but it is well worthwhile.
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” — Colossians 4:6, NIV
Even with people we do not necessarily like, our words of kindness and love can make a difference. We won’t always know if our words were enough to soften someone’s heart, but we can trust in the promises of God’s word as we are showing love toward others.
A Soft Answer Over Harsh Words
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” — Proverbs 15:1, NIV
Regrettably, we do not always think before we speak and sometimes our words can be extremely hurtful or “full of deadly poison” (James 3:8). When we use harsh words and attitudes, it can create anger and bitterness in others around us. Proverbs tells us that a gentle or soft answer is better than this and will help us avoid this conflict.
There will undoubtedly be times when we mess up in this regard. We cannot take back what we said; however we can repent and seek forgiveness in these moments. We can act in love and reduce hurt as much as possible.
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.