We’ve been examining positive uses of the tongue. We have discovered that our words have power; we need to use them purposefully and carefully.
With our tongue, we can minister healing and edification. With that same tongue we can minister hurt and tearing down. “My brethren, this ought not to be so.” Let’s embrace James’ exhortation. Let’s look to God to help us use our tongues solely for blessing!
The following scriptures remind us of the kind of words we should be choosing.
I love that verse! I know that it is a challenging reminder, one that I cannot attain in my own strength. It could become an overwhelming, frustrating burden, save for the wonderful promise tucked within. Did you see that last phrase? Did you notice the implication of positive power we can impart into people’s lives? You and I — simple people like us — can choose words that benefit others, that “impart grace”!
Ever since I realized the potential of my words to actually impart grace (“…that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness; the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues…”) I have experienced a highly increased care and joy regarding my words. How wonderful that I can, by careful and purposeful choosing, impart grace to my family, friends, and neighbors — why, even a stranger might be a partaker of grace through the words I choose to say! How wonderful! What an amazing privilege!
Do my words bring forth life or death? It is a simple enough question, one that is not hard to discern. We just need to be asking ourselves regularly, “Is this ministering life to this person?”
Proverbs 16.24 “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” NKJV
Do my words promote health or do they damage? A pleasant word to a hurting soul can restore faith and bring light. They can heal. How amazing to think we can wield such power!
When I first discovered this passage, I was arrested; I was stopped dead in my tracks.
We are all familiar with the story of Job. (To put it simply, he was a faithful man before God who experienced devastation from the enemy’s hand against him. His friends came to mourn his great losses with him, but actually brought words of accusation, assuming Job’s own sin and error had brought this upon himself. In the end, Job clung to faith in God and God showed His great faithfulness to His servant Job. But his friends were far from encouraging.) It is the old “kick a man when he’s down” syndrome.
I’m afraid we are all prone to doing such things from time to time, especially if the “I told you so” comment is applicable. But don’t go there. Instead, be like Job who said, “But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the comfort of my lips would relieve your grief.” Don’t be tempted to get your licks in while you can, to muster revenge against someone while he’s weak, to kick a good man when he’s down. Choose rather to strengthen and comfort those who are downtrodden and broken, to bolster their faith in God, and to bring relief in their time of grief.
We are not helpless when encountering brokenness and death. The tongue is a small but powerful member; by it He has entrusted to us the wonderful ministry of healing and edification. We do not need to stand by as though impotent, destitute, and defenseless. Instead we have been equipped to actively bring restoration and encouragement. And that is good news, my friend, good news!