Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18
At some time in your life you have certainly been pierced by the sword of angry words, cruel gossip, harsh criticism, deliberate lies, manipulative flattery, and thoughtless foolish comments. As children, when someone said something hurtful we would chant, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” If only that were true. In reality, words actually cause scars that can leave us crippled emotionally and unable to fully trust anyone.
Just as a sword can be used in battle to preserve life or cause death, Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” Think for a moment about the times you have been hurt by someone’s words. Now consider the pain your own words have inflicted. It’s difficult to reflect on the hurt caused by reckless words, and unfortunately we must live with the consequences of words that can never be taken back. Although we are often surrounded by negative words, our words can have just as much positive power. We can choose to respond in love and bring life to those around us. Words of encouragement are an effective step in building up those who have been knocked down by the reckless words of the world.
We know the power of words can last a lifetime, but have you considered that our words will actually follow us into eternity? Matthew 12:36-37 says, “I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak. For by your words you will be condemned.” God’s desire is that our words be used for good. His love and grace are available to every person, but our careless words may cause someone to turn their back on God. It’s not always easy to think before we speak, but we must deliberately choose words that give life to those around us. Our words can truly have an eternal significance.
If we choose our words wisely, they can bring healing to those around us. The word HEAL can help us to remember ways that our tongue can have the power of life.
Honor – Our words should show respect for others rather than to criticize.
Encourage – Cheer for and support others to give them self-confidence.
Appreciate – Acknowledge your appreciation of others.
Love – Show the love of God through your words.
Like a sword, our words can cause great damage, but they also have the power of life. Before you speak, pause to ask yourself, “Will my words bring healing or cause suffering?”