An old Persian proverb says: ‘Whatever is in the heart will come up to the tongue.’
There is another proverb that says: ‘The tongue like a sharp knife… kills without drawing blood.’
Scherrie Payne, an African-American singer, once said: ‘Words can be like bullets: they wound and can do mortal damage to the soul. It’s shameful.’
Think about these quotes for a moment. With our tongue we can belittle, embarrass and hurt someone so badly that they actually want to die. The reverse is also true. With our tongues we can bring healing and joy into someone’s life.
With our tongues we can speak blessings or curses into peoples’ lives. We can encourage people or we can bring them down with our discouraging words. There are some wonderful references to the power of the tongue in the Bible. Here are just a few:
Psalm 34:13: ‘Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.’
Psalm 39:1: ‘I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin.’
Proverbs 10:19: ‘He who holds his tongue is wise.’
Proverbs 12:18: ‘Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.’
Proverbs 17:20: ‘He whose tongue is deceitful falls into trouble.’ And then the opposite is found in Proverbs 21:23: ‘He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.’
The tongue is also what we use to pray aloud, to sing worship songs to the Lord and to give comfort and counsel to people.
In Isaiah 50:4 it says: ‘The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.’ Aren’t those the most beautiful words – God Himself wakens us morning by morning. If we read the Bible (His direct words to us) and spend time in prayer with Him, He will instruct us in what to say and how to behave.
Extract from All God’s Stones