Who desires life, and loves length of days that you may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Psalm 34:12–13
Dad’s aphorism, “It doesn’t matter so much what you say, but how you say it,” is only partially true. What we say matters. It matters to God. It matters so much to God that he determines the amount of good we experience according to what we say. If we speak what is true and good to those we meet, then God will be pleased enough to extend our days and cause us to receive good from his hand. The threatening opposite of this promise is also true, so the one who fears the Lord will hang on to the promise. Thus God punishes liars because they stand against his order for his creation. Treacherous speech violates the order of God’s world in that it attempts to move people away from God’s perfect design for just and righteous behavior. Deceptive and evil speech doesn’t just promote violence; it is violence—both to God and to other humans. So God judges every effort to cause people to fear us instead of him. But the Lord rewards us greatly if we arrange our words so they cohere with his desire to bring about good in our lives and the lives of those who hear us speak.
Because your truth is forever, O Lord; because your plans will succeed; cause me to speak so others will see reality clearly and walk in the light as you do. Amen.