There is one who speaks rashly—like the thrusts of a sword. But the tongue of the wise brings healing. … A soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse one crushes the spirit. Proverbs 12:18; 15:4
As kids we heard that “sticks and stones will break your bones, but names will never hurt you.” As adults, we all know this is only partly true. What someone says about or to us will never directly harm us in an ultimate sense—what someone says cannot separate us from God’s love in Christ. But words can hurt in many other ways. We can use them to separate people from friends and jobs. Unwise words can destroy someone emotionally or professionally. And, clearly others can accomplish these ends if they speak foolishly to or about us. However, if we speak wisely, we will cause an entirely different effect. If we consider the situation and the hearer, if we ponder how different ways of saying something might be perceived, if we think about how our hearer’s faith might be strengthened by what we say, we will avoid injuring someone with our tongues. Instead of being “a restless evil that is full of poison,” our tongues will be a source of life to those who hear us. For gracious fruit springs from a righteous root, sunk deep in the healing grace of God.
O Living Word, thank you for this joyful promise. Put a guard over my mouth, so no rotten word will proceed from it. Cause me to remember that when I speak out of the joy I have in you, no one will regret what I say. Amen.