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When we speak, what we say can either hurt or help people. Many people don’t realize how powerful their words are, and consequently they speak carelessly. Words can’t be taken back, which is why it’s wise to think first before opening our mouths. The power lies in the emotional and psychological impact of what we say to others, which can either damage or edify our relationships with them.
Our speech is invisible on the physical level, yet it unleashes powerful influences on the spiritual level. “Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this” (Matthew 18:18, MSG). Some people who are accustomed to speaking negatively may not understand why they have trouble in their lives, because they do not realize that there is a connection between the physical and the spiritual realms. God wants to bless us with happy relationships, but we may block that blessing if we speak angrily or hurtfully.
The tongue may be small, but there’s nothing small about its power. We can choose to either put others down or speak well of them. What we say can influence whether others perceive us in a negative or positive light. Many of us can remember hastily blurting out something during a conversation and then regretting it later (James 3:5-10).
God gave us the power of speech to use for good, but he also gave us the freedom of choice to decide whether to speak good or bad things. People who don’t understand this spiritual law may be more likely to gossip, complain, and speak harshly about others or even about themselves. There are consequences for everything we say, whether good or bad, and our mouth can get us in trouble if we’re not careful. “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences” (Proverbs 18:21, NLT).
“Reaping the consequences” can be compared to a farmer who reaps whatever seeds he sows. We sow bad seeds when we speak evil, and eventually reap the harvest when what we verbalized comes to pass. The opposite is also true. “Not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. For ‘He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit’” (1 Peter 3:9, 10, NKJV).
Just as we can call up evil through our words, we also have the power to declare good things into existence. When we need healing in any broken relationship we have with others, we can enact change by speaking out. In the Bible, God spoke and created something out of nothing. “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast (Psalm 33:6, 9, NKJV). We can do the same thing with every issue concerning us when we speak blessings instead of curses over others.
Using our words as weapons to wound others or as tools to build each other up is entirely up to us. We see dysfunctional relationships all around us, but we don’t have to fall prey to the same trap. Using biblical principles to guide our interactions with others provides extraordinary results.
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