Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:29-30
Recently, I received a letter from a TV viewer in New York. He is a retired police officer whose mother had just passed away. He was really hurting and asked for prayer.
I wrote him a handwritten note of encouragement. This is what he wrote back:
"I cannot thank you enough for your kind letter and blessed words of encouragement and support. Losing my mom to cancer has been devastating for me, but your comforting words that you took time to write out and personally sign means the world to me. I framed it and it hangs in my living room wall. Thank you so much." Anthony
Reading that note from Anthony reminded me anew and afresh regarding the power of our words. Proverbs 18:21 tells us, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue." How true that is!
FOR DEATH OR FOR LIFE?
Now here are some sobering, thought-provoking questions:
1. Do you use your tongue to speak life or to speak death?
2. Do you use your tongue to build up (edify) or to tear down?
3. Do you use your tongue to bless the Lord or grieve His Spirit?
4. Do you use your tongue to gripe and complain or praise and give thanks?
5. Do you use your tongue to infuse with faith or poison with doubt?
I think many of us are grossly unaware of what really comes out of our mouths. Some of us have become so accustomed to speaking words of negativity, criticism, and faithlessness that we don't even realize what we are saying. We don't realize the damage we are doing to our loved ones, our friends, and ourselves. Surely we fail to realize how our rotten words grieve and hurt the Spirit of God.
Oh, make no mistake about it. He hears every word that comes out of our mouths. Jesus said, "Every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned" (Matthew 12:36-37).
HOW TO FIX IT
If you desire to honor God with your words and speak life with your tongue, let me encourage you in two ways:
1. Focus on your heart. Rotten words reveal a rotten heart because "the mouth speaks from that which fills the heart" (Luke 6:45). Spend quality time in God's Word, and let His Word cleanse your heart.
2. Find a trusted friend who can hold you accountable with your speech. Let that friend know they have the green light to call you on the carpet anytime they hear you whine, gripe, complain, gossip, lie, tear down, and speak general words of death and negativity over your life, your spouse, your marriage, your kids, your parents, your church, your job, and your future.
There is great power for good or for evil in that tongue of yours. Let's make a conscious effort to use our tongues for good, for God, and for the building up of others.
Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for over 20 years and are blessed with three wonderful girls. Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.