Word to the Wise - The Power of the Tongue
The tongue has power! The Bible tells us that God spoke the world into being. It doesn’t say he performed an awesome magic trick or started a huge chemical reaction that lead to the formation of the world. It says simply, “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.’” (Genesis 1:3.) God formed the earth, the sky, the water, the animals and us with the power of His tongue.
Our tongue has power as well. We all realize the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is a complete and utter lie. Words hurt. Words scar. Words can kill and destroy.
Solomon wrote a great deal about the tongue in the book of Proverbs. He actually mentions the word “tongue” 21 times and the word “words” 33 times, so in one book he writes about it in 54 different places. It’s obviously something we need to pay attention to.
Solomon warned about the power of words when he wrote in Proverbs 18:21,“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
As a speaker and a singer, my tongue is literally my instrument. Yet I realize how often I don’t honor God with my tongue. I’m ashamed at how little attention I have given it at times in my life. I treat my guitars as if they were my babies, I’m so very careful with them. I wouldn’t think of dropping them or abusing them. Oh, that I would be so careful with my tongue.
I think about how easy it is to say mean things to people I love when I’m having a bad day or my feelings are hurt. I’ve found myself wishing I could take those hurtful words back as soon as they’ve left my lips. Oftentimes it has nothing to do with the person I’m talking to but everything to do with me. And those words spoken from a hurting heart leave me feeling guilty and even more sad.
On the other side of the coin, when I think about the greatest hurts I’ve experienced in my life, most of them have nothing to do with physical pain or loss. They usually have everything to do with things that were said to me or words that were spoken about me.
I hear God whispering in my soul, “A word to the wise, don’t forget how much power you yield with your tongue.” Before I spout off unkind words, let me consider the choice to speak life or death into others.
One thing I am trying very hard to work on personally is simply thinking before I speak. I’m learning to refrain from interjecting something into a conversation if it doesn’t add value to anyone. I’m stepping back for that split second to think my words through. That’s super hard to do when you’re a “Chatty Cathy” like me, but honestly, I am trying!
I’m also trying to avoid using my tongue in a negative way. I’m trying to remember at all times that my words have the power of life and death. I want to honor God with my instrument.
I’m also trying to live out Solomon’s words in Proverbs 17:27, “The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.”
These are some of the questions I’m trying to ask myself:
Am I adding value by the words I speak, or am I detracting? Am I lifting up, or am I tearing down? Am I helping someone move forward, or am I holding someone back? Am I encouraging them to reach for their dreams, or am I letting my own jealousy come through? When I have to confront an issue, can I confront with loving words instead of anger?
We use words all day long, so the opportunity to add life to someone else is limitless! When we do have to have a tough conversation, guarding our tongue and choosing our words wisely does make all the difference.
Let’s not forget the power of our tongue!
Voice for Women of Faith
A living “Energizer Bunny,” Jill Miller has a zest for life that is contagious! With humor and honesty, she shares her personal struggles and how God showed up in the midst of them. Through her songwriting, speaking and writing, she is simply a friend telling her story, hoping it will touch your heart, encourage you in your struggles, and inspire you to keep reaching for your full potential. Her spiritual insights are relatable, insightful, and can be practically applied to your life.
Jill realized a dream when she was named one of the new Voices of Women of Faith, and she loves serving the organization by being a mentor for the Ambassador program. Jill is also their Director of Development and serves as a worship leader and speaker as well.
Jill is a singer/songwriter and Nashville recording artist. She recently released her 6th CD entitled “Twelve, the Freedom Soundtrack.”
Jill is also a certified speaker, coach and teacher with the John Maxwell Team and has written the first ever theme song for the John Maxwell Team. She recently released an online course entitled “Writing the Song of Your Life,” which is a 7-week journey to discovering your purpose and stepping into your unique calling, the song God has given you to sing!