I have been thinking about the power of the tongue lately. The book of James says the tongue is the smallest member of the body yet it can cause the greatest devastation. Have you ever said anything that you wished you could take back? As the words left your mouth you regretted what you had said. But you can't take back words!
I read the story of a man who was sick in hospital. He had a colleague who came to see him to apologize for some unkind and harsh things he had said about him. His colleague sat on his hospital bed and said, "Can you forgive me for the terrible things I said about you?" The sick man said he would certainly forgive the man. But then he made a very unusual request. He said to his colleague, "Won't you take my pillow and cut it open and then go to the window, open it, and shake all the feathers out into the open?" The man thought it was an unusual request, but obliged the sick man who he had offended. The sick man said, "Now will you go and gather all those feathers up again?" The gentleman who had shaken the feathers out replied, "That is impossible by now the feathers will have blown all over the town!" The sick man responded, "Exactly!" and then went on to say, "And that is what has happened with your words, they are all over town now, they have damaged my reputation; you are sorry, I forgive you, but the destruction has been done."
There are some things we need to seriously consider about our words:
1. Our words can destroy people: Many times our words are not as dramatic as in the illustration above, but there are times that they can cause devastation. Proverbs 12: 18, "The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Which one do you want to be? Do you want to be reckless or wise? Your words can destroy or bring healing...you choose!
2. Guarding our mouths can save us and others from destruction: Never blame other people for the things you say. Don't say, 'If you hadn't made me angry I would never have said that." You are the only person that can guard what comes out of your mouth. Proverbs:21:23, "Those who guard their tongues and mouths keep themselves from calamity." Your words can damage others, but they can damage your own spirit more.
3. We need to be intentional about guarding our words: Psalm 141:3, "Set a guard over my mouth, Lord: Keep watch over the door of my lips." This is an acknowledgement of our humanity. We understand our weakness and how prone we are to say things we should never say. So with intentionality we ask God to help us to speak kindly and lovingly so that our words will bring healing.
I am and always will be,
Recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,