I have prayed lately whenever I am in a conversation with anyone that my words soothe and heal, rather than wound and scar. It is not by accident I pray this regularly because Scripture talks of the tongue as having the capabilities to sin, to be deceitful, boastful, devise mischief, to flatter, to be wicked, break a heart, and create a poisonous wound that can fester forever.
James 3:6-10 (ESV) “And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”
I have been on the receiving end of a good “tongue lashing” from time to time. Admittedly, there were times as a child and a teen, I needed a good talking to. My parents had to discipline me to teach me obedience and to prevent me from making mistakes, but they never intentionally scolded or used their words to break my spirit. The words that cut and festered were oftentimes just casual comments my parents made without any idea they were actually damaging my tender heart. The fault wasn’t necessarily the words themselves but the fact I would misinterpret or completely misunderstand what my parents were trying to say to me. Like comparing my abilities to another one of my classmate’s to somehow motivate me to perform better at school. It had the opposite effect than they intended. I interpreted it as “I’m not good enough” so why try?
I understand only too well how my words have wounded as well as encouraged. I’ve spoken idle words that have hurt my kids’ tender sensibilities. My tongue has lashed out in anger, frustration and even in jest to cause unintentional scarring. Thankfully, my kids have been gracious to forgive, not sure if they will ever forget though. I just pray I have spoken more words that have healed their hearts; words that have built them up, and encouraged them that vastly outnumber those misspoken words I regret even uttering.
As I’ve matured, I would pray I’ve grown wiser with my words, but there are still times I speak out of turn, say something without thinking, put my foot in my mouth as they say. I sometimes don’t even realize the bruising impact my words have caused. I have learned that once words are spoken, good or bad, they can never be unsaid.
Scripture speaks to the damage a tongue can do, but also the fact that speaking words of encouragement, Truth, wisdom, praise and love gives life! “The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:4 “Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.” Proverbs 21:23. Taming the tongue is an act of spiritually maturing. For me, it’s a daily prayer to ask that my words be the balm that heals, rather than cause the scars that fester.
Lord, hear my prayer!
I am so grateful for these blogs wow! They are so good! Thank you for taking the time to share them!!!
Thank-you for the encouragement!
We are not perfect. That is why we are here, learning, while He is there, teaching. Words that are meant well but are misconstrued or painful are often not enough to mask the heart that they come from. If your heart is good and you speak truthfully from it, that’s always going to be the best you can do. And to me, that’s always been enough.