“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21
The power of words should never be underestimated.
People’s words have established lives, destroyed lives, brought healing and joy, brought sickness and misery. What we say can have massive effect upon ourselves and others.
Whoever said: “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”… didn’t know much about life. The greatest good, and the greatest harm, lie in the power of the tongue.
This truth can be witnessed everywhere, in every aspect of life. Have you ever thought about how a single word from a friend or acquaintance can affect – for good or for bad – your entire day? Even your week?
The Proverbs says much on the power of words, highlighting the dangers and the blessings. Not only do our words directly influence our relationship to other people, but even our relationship to God.
It is interesting to read the stories of highly successful people and see how other’s words to them, often in their youth, influenced the direction of their lives. Some overcame tragic circumstances to lead exemplary lives. By the same token, many people’s lives have been shattered, their dreams tanked, by the verbal influence of those close to them.
Of course, we don’t usually read those stories because no one really likes to write (or read) about human failures. But they surely exist.
I remember things spoken to me when I was a kid. Even now decades gone by, the words of those whom I loved and cared about had seriously positive AND negative impacts on my life. For sure, I have likewise said many things to others which have had similar effects upon them.
The Bible often uses metaphors in teaching truths. Here the author speaks of fruit. Just as a tree or plant is known by the fruit hanging from its branches – either good fruit or bad fruit – so a person who speaks words is known by those words.
Think of people you know who speak rashly, without thought or consideration for what they are saying. These people ramble on and on, hurling their opinion on anything and everything, whether or not they have the right to do so. If you know someone like this, you also know that person hurts a lot of people with his words.
Conversely, you probably know people who seriously consider what they say BEFORE they speak. People like this tend to have a much more positive, and encouraging effect upon others. Their words instruct, bless, and heal others.
The fruit of speech is serious. It’s either poisonous, or nourishing.
And how does the Bible describe good speech? Another powerful metaphor:
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24
As sweet and nourishing as honey, kind words build up the spirit and the body!
We have been entrusted with a great gift in speech, and great responsibility in our words. Let us be sure to use them for good, to encourage, uplift, and instruct, for the power of words is power indeed.