When someone used to tease you as a child, did you ever respond by saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”? I heard that a lot when I was growing up, but if we are honest with ourselves, we know that those words are false. Words can hurt, and sometimes words can hurt worse than sticks and stones because the wounds they cause may take longer to heal. The Bible tells us that what we say to others is important. It tells us that our words can be used to build others up or tear them down. Proverbs, chapter 15 verse 4, reminds us:
“The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”
Also in chapter 12, verse 25 it says:
“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.”
Our words can be a weapon, or they can bring healing to those who hear them. What kind of words are coming out of your mouth? If we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, like the Bible commands us, we should use words that bring healing; words that cheer up the heart, as these parables explain. With our words we have more power than we might think. So I encourage you to use your words wisely. Consider how you can use them in a way that honors God and encourages your neighbor.
Proverbs isn’t the only place in the Bible that warns us about our tongue and our words. There are several verses warning us about the words we choose to speak both in the Old and New Testament. The Bible encourages us to be slow to speak and quick to listen. But when we do speak, our words should be those that encourage, uplift, and build people up. Who knows, a few kind words could change the course of someone’s day. At the right time, with the right heart, a few loving words can even save a life. So please, consider what you say and when you say it, because your words can have the power to heal as well as the power to destroy.