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The Power Of The Tongue


By Cynthia Bailey-Rug



Proverbs 18:21 "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit." (NIV)


What a powerful thought, that a small thing such as the tongue possesses the power of life and death! But think about it- God created the earth with words: "Let there be light" brought into existence the sun and moon. Isn't that incredible? No magic wand, no creating them from substances created them, but instead mere words.



That power is also available to human beings, it isn't something God kept for Himself. Our words can build up, encourage, offer comfort and understanding. Or, on a darker note, our words can tear down, discourage, wound and even destroy. Words are vessels of unimaginable power, and they must be used wisely!



Recently, God has been showing me that words can also invite mocking, abuse and pain. For example, by not using wisdom in who you rely on, you may be inviting that person to hurt you. Some people are not compassionate due to having suffered themselves in their lives or because they simply do not understand the depths of your pain, or are just irresponsible and unreliable by nature. Therefore they cannot offer you understanding and assistance in your time of trouble. Proverbs 25:19 says, "Like a bad tooth or lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in times of trouble." A bad tooth or lame foot won't kill you, but it sure can hurt! Which is what happens when you rely on those this verse refers to as the "unfaithful."



God also has shown me Proverbs 9:7-8 "Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult; whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse. Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you." The Good News translation uses the phrase "conceited man." I have come across many people who fit this description- people who make excuses for their hurtful actions, who blamed me for "making them do it," or who simply deny their action was hurtful in the first place, even though I may be in tears while talking to them about it.



Have you been in this painful situation?



I believe the way to stop "inviting abuse" isn't to keep quiet, but to pray! Our Heavenly Father knows best- ask Him to help you speak wisely, to have the wisdom to know who you can safely discuss which topics with. James 1:5 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." I have seen it happen in my own life- God truly gives wisdom in abundance when asked! I now know that some people are not safe to discuss certain topics with, and that is fine. I would prefer knowing this information than discussing things with them that invite pain any day! Wisdom has given me a sensing of when I need to change subjects, and when it is appropriate to continue on discussing other subjects, and the knowledge of with whom I need to stay with superficial topics, and with whom I can discuss deeper issues. I think this wisdom has enabled my relationships to blossom into the healthiest, best relationships they can possibly be.

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