“The tongue has the power of life and death…” Proverbs 18:21. Scripture makes it clear that the tongue has a great deal of power over or impact on a person. In Proverbs 18:6 explains that “The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite a beating.” This verse shows the importance of watching what you say. You can make others pretty angry when you do not set a guard over your tongue. A loose tongue invites trouble. Proverbs 15:4 further indicates, “The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.” And we find in Proverbs 18:14 that “The human spirit can endure in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear.”
It really grieves my heart to hear those who say verbal abuse is not as serious as being physically hit. I don’t know what Bible they are reading but scripture is very clear on the “danger,” the “abuse” and the “result” of words struck by the tongue on another person! Whether the words are spouse to spouse, parent to child, child to parent, teacher to student, student to student, coach to athlete, etc., words and the tongue kill. Scripture is clear that the tongue crushes the spirit which is harder to bear than sickness.
I could point to example after example of the pain inflicted by careless words. We have yet to realize the “tongue” is dangerous and can have more power than a physical punch! In fact, the tongue has the power to throw a knock out punch. You cannot physically see a “broken spirit” as easily as you can a bruise or broken bone…but a bruised HEART…WHO CAN BEAR?
Just because there isn’t a visible cast for the heart…..doesn’t mean it isn’t broken…crushed and sometimes….can take decades to heal. There are no hospital beds reserved for the “crushed” heart…but trust me….a great deal of damage is happening all around us. We as a society and as a church need to ask the Lord for the spiritual eyes to see those who are crushed and in need of healing. We need to take the truth of scripture seriously when it comes to evaluating how we use our tongue with others.
If you are being crushed by the words of others, my advice would be to seek help in guarding your heart. If the “punches” being inflicted don”t stop, set a boundary. This is where we once again need to live Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else GUARD YOUR HEART, for everything you do flows from it.” [emphasis mine] Go to the Lord and ask Him what action you need to take to guard your heart if the “punches,” the words that crush the spirit, don’t stop! Maybe we need to seek help in learning to disarm our tongue?
If people walk away from you and there is a lost or broken relationship because of your tongue, understand that according to Proverbs 18:6 you invited the beating.
James 3:6, “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”
Maybe we all need to take a moment today to stop and consider our words and how we use them with others. Do we offer life giving words or do we seek to crush the spirit of another with our careless words? We all need to have a better understanding of the power our tongue has. We all possess the power of life and death with our words.
Realize the “tongue” causes as many fatalities in the world as bullets.