The Words We Speak
The average person speaks at least 7,000 words a day. Now let that sink in. What does that mean to you? Those 7,000 words we speak every day can have an impact on those around us–our family, friends, and co-workers. Our words can dictate how others perceive us; whether in a positive or negative way. More importantly, the words we speak can either build others up or tear them down. How we choose to use our words is up to us.
In the Book of Proverbs, it depicts the tongue as having, “the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (18:21). Alternatively, the words we speak either produce fruit or poison. So what do your words produce?
The Bible throughout various sections describes the evil of the tongue. Here are few poisonous tongues to avoid and be aware of when using words.
4 Types of Poisonous Tongues
1. A Harmful Tongue (Cursing)
“You love every harmful word, you deceitful tongue!” Psalm 52:4
2. A Lying Tongue
“Save me, Lord, from lying lips and from deceitful tongue” Psalm 120:2 / “keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies” Psalm 34:13
3. A Crafty Tongue
“Your sin prompts your mouth; you adopt the tongue of the crafty” Job 15:5
4. A Flattering Tongue
“May the Lord silence all flattering lips and every boastful tongue” Psalm 12:3
How to tame our tongue
As you see, the tongue can be wicked. In the Book of James, James speaks about the dichotomous nature of the tongue. “With the tongue, we praise our Lord and Father, and with it, we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness” (9). We as Christians on one hand praise and worship our Lord our God. Conversely, with that very same tongue, we speak ill of others. How is it we can speak maliciously of others who were created by our Father with the same tongue we praise Him with? The fact is, we have a difficult time controlling our words and how we use them. We allow evil and sin to cloud our hearts. We are sinful human beings who need to place our tongues under the control of God.
Even though the tongue is a small part of the body (it is described as a rutter), we are controlled by it and are powerless to restrain it. “But no human being can tame the tongue” (James 3:8). However, with the strength of God, we can tame our poisonous tongue and use it for good:
- Surrender our tongue and place it under the control of God
- Change our heart and renew our mind (Psalm 51:10; Romans 12:2)
- Pray to God that He gives us self-awareness on how powerful our words can be (Psalm 19:14)
- Ask for forgiveness for the poisonous words we have spoken (James 3:2)
- Practice speaking words of encouragement in all our daily conversations (Ephesians 4:29; Colossians 4:6)
We need to be intentional with the words we speak on a daily basis. I know for me that can be difficult to do. I allow my mind to control what I say. However, this is not an excuse. Not only do we need to praise and worship God with our tongues, but we also need to speak life into everyone we come into contact with. In our culture, tearing down those we disagree with is greeted with praise and support.
Nonetheless, we as Christians need to be countercultural and stand out as an example for everyone else to follow. So, we need to choose our words wisely and tame our tongue, and use our tongue to build up those around us with our words, rather than tear them down. So knowing this, don’t waste your words but make them count every day.
Christian, Husband, Political junkie, Braves fan, Marvel Nerd, craft beer aficionado, and a sinner saved by grace. He has a passion for helping Christian men grow in their faith. He is the founder and editor of Joshua’s Outpost.