Your Powerful Tongue

Proverbs 18

Proverbs 18 21

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.”

Few phrases have been spoken more often and yet are so erroneous.

Words are certainly the weapon of choice for many, especially on the internet. And they hurt. And sometimes words can kill.

In 2000, Charity, a recent graduate of our local high school met some guys at a local mall. For reasons that defy common sense, she got to talking about her rich ex-boyfriend and how she was able to get around the home’s security system. Why was she telling these guys she just met all this? How does this come up in casual conversation? Was she bragging? Was she trying to appear tough? Regardless, the guys indicated they wanted to rob the place. She told these guys the family’s and the maid’s schedules and provided a layout of the property.

A few days later, she called her dad to ask him to pick her up from work. He told her to be careful because he had just heard on the news that there had been a triple murder near her workplace. According to court papers she “went into hysterics” and told a coworker she may be at fault.  She was eventually found guilty of accessory to murder and sentenced to 165 years in prison. (She was released 4 and 1/2 years later, but that’s another story.)

In Proverbs 18, like the chapters before and after, we see that our words are powerful. Verse 21 states that “the tongue has the power of life and death.”  Charity’s words brought death. I don’t know if she ever read Proverbs 18:5-7, but she certainly has lived them. Her words were partial to the wicked, denied the innocent justice, and then were a snare that trapped her, brought her strife, and invited a “beating” of sorts.

If you are reading the FUEL posts, I am confident that you are wise enough to guard your words. And I doubt any of you would ever say something to purposely lead to the death of another. I don’t even think you would purposely say anything to hurt anyone physically or emotionally. Continue to be mindful of your words.

Verse 21 also says that we will eat of the fruit of our words or receive the consequences of our words. If you are working on developing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) those fruits/consequences will be soft and safe, rather than sticks and stones.

Maria Knowlton

Sweet or Sour?

Proverbs 15

Proverbs 15 28 NIV

I love milk. I drink a lot of it, and the refrigerator on the hospital floor where I work is always stocked with the little 1/2 pint cartons like you get at school. Unfortunately, the fridge is often over stocked and the expiration dates are past due. I go through and throw out the old milk when I have time. But one night there were several cartons that were just a “little bit” expired (like at midnight) so I took them to have with my lunch. My coworkers warned me! “Don’t drink it!” they said. But I’ve done this before and the milk was fine (I think you know where this is going). The first little carton was good. So I took a big chug from the second…. and couldn’t run to the sink fast enough… the milk was sour, bitter, slightly chunky…. disgusting!!! Even after brushing my teeth, it took awhile to get that taste out of my mouth.

And so it is with our words. In Psalms 15, we read over and over about our words, lips, and mouth.  Verses 1, 2, 4, 7, 23, and 28 speak to how we use these things either for righteousness or destruction. We know those parts of us are not acting on their own. In Matthew 12:34, Christ states that “out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

According to Proverbs 15, the person who spurns discipline, correction, and mentorship has a heart and mind full of anger, jealousy, and malice. The words from that person will be destructive, bitter, foolish, and wounding. What is pouring from the heart and out of the mouth is as stinky as sour milk.

Conversely, the person who heeds discipline, wise counsel, and knowledge will bring forth words that are constructive, calming, healing, and wise. What is pouring from the heart and out of the mouth is as refreshing as someone chewing Orbit Sweet Mint gum.

So I’m going to avoid drinking expired milk from now on. I will also avoid behaviors that will turn my words sour. I will seek out behaviors that turn my words sweet; Scriptural study, prayer, and fellowship with the family of God. And I’m also going to keep gum in my purse at all times.


Maria Knowlton