To Destroy or To Build Up

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To Destroy or to Build up

I did a lesson with young children at church where I took in bubbles and the bubble wand.  Of course they loved chasing the bubbles and trying to catch them.  I ended the lesson with telling them to go get all of the bubbles and bring them back to me.  They got the funniest expressions on their precious little faces!  They told me that they couldn’t do that.  I explained how it’s the same with words that come out of our mouths too.  Once they are out there, we can’t take them back.  Oh sure, we can say that we are sorry, but wouldn’t it be better if we had never said the words that required the apology in the first place?

James says in chapter 3 that a word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything – or destroy it!  He then goes on to mention how just a spark can set off a forest fire, and compares our tongues to a fire – that with our speech we can turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, etc.

Prov. 6:2 says that we are snared by the words of our lips, caught by the speech of our mouths.  — Think about this:  Sometimes we can be having a day where nothing is going right.  We begin to say aloud that we can’t do anything right.  The enemy of our souls hears that, and TRAP!  He’s caught us, and sets a snare for us.  The next thing we know, we are in the mindset that we are nothing but a failure.  Our joy, peace, contentment, and over-all sense of well-being goes out the door in an instant.

Prov. 10:19 says that in the multitude of words, sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is prudent.  In the Webster’s New World Dictionary, “prudent” means, “exercising sound judgment in practical matters, cautious in conduct, not rash, managing carefully.”  Oh, that we could all say that where our tongues are concerned.

Prov. 18:20 says that life and death are in the power of the tongue.  There are so many ways in which our tongues can speak death.  With our words, we can emotionally damage our children, we can kill a friendship, we can cause a huge wall to erupt in our relationship with our husbands (and in a matter of only a few words!), we can even cause physical ailments to come upon ourselves…..and the list goes on.  There is a flip side to it though; our words can speak life to people too.  (I like this part!)  We can speak life to someone who is so discouraged that they don’t feel they can go on.  We can encourage our children in their struggles, or even encourage them in what we see as strengths for them.  We can lift the spirits of our husbands who can carry such heavy loads at times.

Prov. 10:11 says that the mouth of the righteous man is a well of life.
Prov. 10:14 says that wise men store up knowledge in their heart and mind.  Well, what is the wise man going to do with that knowledge?  He can use it to speak life to those who need it.
Prov. 10:20 says that the tongues of those who are upright and in right standing with God are as choice silver (the best silver).

Father, may we daily make the choice to let our words be as choice silver, bringing life and joy to those to whom we speak.  Amen.
© 2003, Stacy R Miller


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