Proverbs 18:21 (NIV) “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
We’ve all heard the phrase, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. For me personally, I learned this phrase in elementary school at an early age. Usually, this was a phrase that one would use as a line of defense when someone said something cruel.
The truth is, whenever a child was picked on because their clothes looked “nasty” or had holes, they would remember, and it would indeed hurt. In fact, that child may carry around those thoughts for days, weeks, or maybe even a lifetime. What are those thoughts and feelings? Rejection. Inadequacy. Embarrassment. While that “sticks and stones” phrase may bring comfort in the moment, is it far from the actual truth.
James 3:5 (NIV) “Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.”
As I head in a different direction for a moment, stick with me because I will tie this all together. Trust me! OK, here we go. I would venture to say that each one of us has spoken something “over” someone this past week. How about I take it a step further and say maybe even today? I know I have. I spoke several things over my daughter yesterday that the Holy Spirit convicted me of and had to speak to be about.
I have a toddler, so let’s just say we are going through an adjustment period. We both were exhausted from our day yesterday, and I tried my best to make it to “bedtime”. However, the harder I tried to rush her evening routine, the more agitated she became. What was happening? My daughter and I were engaged in a battle to have our own way. The more adamant I was with her, the more distraught she became with me.
I would say things like, “why are you doing this, please stop”, as I would repeat several other demands. The Holy Spirit quickly told me, “She is scared and does not understand. Hold her. Hold her and pray. Speak life over her”. As I listened to the prompt of the Holy Spirit, I grabbed my hysterical baby and sat with her and started to pray out loud. I started to speak life over my baby. God’s presence became so tangible that both my daughter and I were at peace within minutes.
Proverbs 15:4 (NIV) “The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.”
My prayer is that we would all become aware of what we speak over our marriages, friendships, families, churches, children, and yes, even ourselves. Every word you speak is a seed that gets planted in your own heart or someone else’s heart. You have the power, through the Holy Spirit, to speak life.
Ephesians 4:29 (NIV) “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”