I wrote a status on Facebook, recently, encouraging people to be courteous to those, like my husband, who work in the fast food industry. It got me to thinking . . . How many times do we all say things, so thoughtless of the circumstances going on in another person’s life?! Proverbs 10:19 declares that, “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.” Part of the problem is, that, as women, we tend to talk TOO much! We often don’t stop to think before we blurt out some hurtful comment or some gossipy remark. We criticize a lady across the room from us, for having a “boyish” haircut, without stopping to think that she might have had cancer treatments within the year! We make hurtful comments about a mom who never puts her baby in the church nursery, without realizing that her "preemie" is still susceptible to becoming dangerously sick with the latest germ. We talk about how “awful” it is that someone’s children go to public school, that someone only has one child, or that someone’s baby drinks formula, without caring to stop and understand the circumstances! The Bible says, “Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth.” (James 3:5) How very hurtful we, as ladies, can be with our WORDS!
Men like Hitler and Stalin are known for being destroyers of millions of innocents, but I’m afraid that many women throughout history have been “murderers of the human spirit”. Proverbs 12:18 “There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword . . .” Women have such power with the things that they say! They can build up a grown man, or they can tear him down in an instant. They can encourage their children to greatness, or they can criticize them until they no longer have a shred of confidence in themselves or anyone else. In Proverbs 18:21, Solomon warns us that, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Did you know that you can cause a person to “die” on the inside with the very things that you say?! You can also bring “life” and great joy!
In the New Testament, James shares that we are ALL guilty of causing injury with our tongues. “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” (James 3:2) Not one of us is perfect! We ALL offend others with our words! But sometimes, I’m afraid we forget that, one day, “ . . .every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12) We will be judged later, and we will pay consequences, EVEN NOW, for the way we use the power of our tongues! Psalm 34:12-13 asks us, “What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.” Proverbs 15:4 reiterates that, “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life . . .”
How do you want to be known? As a gossiper? As a criticizer? When we read about the “Proverbs 31 Woman”, we find that, “She openeth her mouth with wisdom: and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” How beautiful to be known as one who speaks with a kind and loving tongue! Will we sometimes make mistakes? Yes. We all sin! But Romans 12:18 admonishes us, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” When we are tempted to gossip, or to be hurtful with our words, this week, may we pray with the Psalmist David, “Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.” (Psalm 141:3)