The Power of the Tongue: Do We Use It for Life or Death?

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The Power of the Tongue

Do We Use It for Life or Death?

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The Power of the Tongue: Do We Use It for Life or Death?

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Recently, it was in the headlines of the cancelation of the very popular TV show  Rosanne.  It was a comedy show from many years ago that was brought back and became an instant hit.

The cast was on top of the world and headed for awards. It was the number one watched show for ABC. However, all of that came crashing down!

Sadly, the main star of the show tweeted some racist comments that got her fired and led to the cancelation of the show. Her actions left all of her cast and crew without a job.

This recent occurrence made me reflect on how serious how the use of our tongues can affect so many others around us, for good or for bad.

However, the power of our tongue used in a positive way can make a huge difference. Like the true story about Edward. Edward was a six-foot-tall teen whose life was changed by the use of the tongue in a positive way.  

Edward’s music teacher noticed that Edward always sat in the back of the room, all slumped down. She also noticed that Edward had no friends and always ate lunch by himself, often times under a tree. The music teacher would walk by and try to engage him in conversation.

The teacher felt compelled to reach out and encourage him. Her heart went out to this young man.

Edward struggled in her class. His grades were not good at all.

When the students came in to get their last grade from their last exam, the teacher kept looking for Edward in line but did not see him.

The night before, the teacher fretted all night long over the grade she had to give him. It was a D but she wanted so badly to give him a better grade.

While she was getting ready to lock up and go home, Edward finally walked in. He looked horrible. His eyes were all sunken in, he had the same clothes on that he had worn for weeks and his hair was all matted.

He looked at the teacher and said: “I know that I am getting a low grade on my final. I realize that I have not been participating in class and that I am an embarrassment to others. I am lazy, selfish, stupid and an ugly no-good-for-anything person. I have no place on this earth and what’s more, no one can ever love a person like me. I am a hopeless case with absolutely no future.” The teacher let him continue while holding back tears and trying to maintain professionalism.

When he was finished, what she said next turned this young man’s life around. She looked directly into his very sad eyes and said, “Edward, your final grade is an A.” His reaction was one of total and complete surprise. “You are giving me an A? Me? Why would you give me an A when I did such a poor job in class, on my assignments and on my final exam? Why would you do that?”

Her answer to Edward was: “You may appear to be a D student, but you are an A person. I believe in you now, and I will always believe in you. I am here for you now, and I will always be here for you. Never, ever forget that. Now, go and create the life you dream of. Believe in yourself. I will be watching. And by the way Edward, I love you.”

Early the next morning she was awoken at 3 a.m. It was a call from a priest. The priest told the teacher she had saved Edward’s life! The priest went on to tell her that Edward was planning to kill himself after he left her office to receive his grade. He already had it set up and had a written suicide note.

All his life, Edward only heard constant put-downs from his brother. The constant words of hate broke him and nearly drove him to commit suicide. The priest told the teacher her words gave Edwards hope that he was indeed worth something. Her words turned that young man’s life around that day.

Because of this awesome teacher, who spoke the right words, Edward went on to marry and have children and is now a dentist. You can read all of the story here about Edward.

There is so much power in that small member in our mouth, the tongue. “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21 Proverbs 18:21Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
American King James Version×
, New International Version).

Our tongues can be the life and death of a marriage. It can be the life and death of friendships and, yes, life and death of careers. It can even push someone like Edward to become so discouraged they contemplate, or may even commit, suicide.

Our tongues can also do the opposite by lifting someone up. Our tongues can be an instrument for life, like the schoolteacher’s were to Edward. Her words gave Edward life! She gave him a reason to go on.

We live in a very negative, hate-filled world that offers words of death and lies bent on destroying people, attacking everyone in general who do not think or believe the same as we do.

How many times have we heard encouraging words of gratitude and appreciation? 

“Jesus said, ‘Out of the abundance of the heart [the] mouth speaks’ ” (Luke 6:45 Luke 6:45A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
American King James Version×
). A critical heart produces a critical tongue. A self-righteous heart produces a judgmental tongue. A bitter heart produces an acerbic [hate-filled] tongue. An ungrateful heart produces a grumbling tongue. What does our heart say?” (“Fill Your Mouth With Life, Not Death,”  Desiring God).

The words we speak will depend on what is in our heart already. We must ask God for a pure heart.

God tells us in Ephesians 4:29 Ephesians 4:29Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers.
American King James Version×
: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence” (Proverbs 10:11 Proverbs 10:11The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covers the mouth of the wicked.
American King James Version×
). We should always look for the best in each other. In Ephesians 4:32 Ephesians 4:32And be you kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.
American King James Version×
Paul wrote, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Everyone needs encouragement in this difficult world. Many people are going through so much. Let us all work to use our tongues to make a difference in raising people up instead of tearing people down.

Be a healer to others by your words! Ask God to inspire you to say the right thing at the right time. The world is in desperate need for love, so let us do what we can to spread the love that comes from our Father in Heaven.

Use the power of your tongue for healing!