I can remember my mom admonishing me saying: “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all” or was it “just keep your mouth shut.” I don’t remember exactly, but I got the point. Maybe that’s why I was such a quiet child. Like most mothers she was trying to get me to think about the things I said and the effect it had on others, in my case the impact on my brother and sister mostly.
As it turns out it isn’t just mothers who are concerned about what their children say and how they say it! God is too! God has a lot to say about what we say (our speech). First, consider what the Bible has to say about the “Power of Speech”. The “Power of Life and Death” is found in the tongue- Prov. 18:21- “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”
Learning to control our tongue can actually help us avoid a lot of unnecessary trouble in life. I actually saw a co-worker get fired when he just could not or would not control his tongue. He loaned some yard tools to another co-worker and was arguing about not getting them back. At the same time we received an urgent call from the Coast Guard for a job that demanded a quick response and mobilization. The boss told him several times to “drop it” for now because we had to load up and get moving! Unfortunately, he refused to listen and faced off with the boss. We left him behind and then he was fired for insubordination. Later he lost his unemployment case in court. It only took the judge minutes to make a judgment concerning who was in the right. Just another reminder from the “real world” and “real life” that God’s wisdom and His way is ALWAYS right and ALWAYS in our best interest. Looking the wise words of Proverbs again we find that “He who guards his mouth and his tongue, Guards his soul from troubles”(Pr.21:23)
Consider the Power of Positive/ Pleasant words. A couple weeks ago I found a crab fisherman’s glasses he lost in the bay. He wasn’t on board at the time, but a few days later when I was having a tough day I received a call from him just to let me know how much he appreciated me finding those glasses because he only had them a couple days before they ended up in the bay. That call made my day because I needed it just then. (Pr.16:24) Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Pleasant words are soothing to the soul and nourishing to the body.
As people and especially as Christians we do well to remember the power we possess to build up or to break down, to discourage or to encourage, the power to harm or the power to heal. Remember the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” (Mt. 12:34,35) Let’s strive to use our God given power of speech to be a blessing to others and in turn we’ll be blessed ourselves. [MS]