The tongue: death or life

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit. Prov 18:21

Now, this verse isn’t talking about magic power that words have. We cannot speak something alive or speak something dead. BUT we can speak words that bring life or death to the spirit of a man; to bring encouragement or despair, truth or lies.

There are different kinds of speech that bring the “death”:

  • the critical spirit
  • the liar
  • the doom-and-gloomer

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Jas 3:9-10

The critical spirit is the person who is continually nit-picking. They find every flaw, every fault, every weakness and they harp on it. They never see growth or strengths and they count themselves as the standard by which all things should be measured.

Trying to please the critical spirit results in discouragement and shame.

A lying tongue hates those it crushes, And a flattering mouth works ruin.  Prov 26:28

The liar is the person who can never be trusted. One moment they claim absolute honesty, the next they are either flattering or blaming. Their aim is to always put themselves in the best possible light, no matter who they tear down to get it done. We may try to believe the best and give the liar the benefit of the doubt, but it always ends up to our disadvantage.

Trying to trust the liar results in hurt and damage.

All the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! “Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?”
Num 14:2-3

The doom-and-gloomer is the person who frets and worries, who sees disaster and despair around every corner. They are the ones who are quick to point out how every endeavor is likely to fail, every hope is false and every situation will bring catastrophe.

Trying to encourage the doom-and-gloomer results in exhaustion and defeat.

So how in the world DO we bring life with the power of the tongue?

We keep our eyes, our heart and our hope on Jesus!

There is encouragement, truth and hope in Jesus. He is the One who should be the focus of our lives. Peter was able to do the MIRACULOUS by walking on water when his eyes were attentively fixed on Jesus. We too can see His glory and speak words of encouragement, truth and hope to those around us in any and all circumstance when we look intently at Him. But we see Peter begin to sink in despair when his eyes turned to his own situation and the seeming irrationality of it. When we speak words of failure and lies and despair to those around us (as well as our selves), we too will find ourselves succumbing to bondage and defeat.

This is the death and life that are in the power of the tongue: to turn the focus to self and situation rather than to Jesus and His power and glory.

Will YOU be a person who uses your tongue to bring death or life?

Blogs I might be linking to:
Marital Oneness, The Better Mom, Multitudes on Monday, Hear it On Sunday, Sharing His Bounty, What Joy Is Mine, Domestically Divine Tuesdays, Time Warp Wife, Encourage One Another, Living Well Wednesdays, Raising Homemakers, Hearts 4 Home,  Homemaking Link-up Week-end, Legacy Leaver Thursday, Thankful Thursday, Proverbs 31 Thursdays,  Thought Provoking Thursday, First Day of My Life Thankful Thursdays, Thankful, Thankful Thursday Brown-eyed Bell(e), Big Family Fridays, Faith Filled Fridays, Home Focused Friday

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  1. Great post! I love it and it is so very true!!

    • Thanks, Jen. Blessings to you.

  2. This is great, and I LOVE how you used Scripture as an example and to back everything up. I’m definitely guilty of all the above at times…thank God for his forgiveness!

    • Thanks for coming by, Jaimie! I know that scripture is what reaches MY heart so I want to make sure that scripture is there to speak to others. And AMEN for His forgiveness!!

  3. I struggle most with a critical spirit. It’s the perfectionist in me that zeros in on the areas that need improvement rather than see the beauty. It is an area of myself that needs improving!!

    • OK, Stephanie, I have no idea why but my spam catcher keeps catching your comments as spam. ARGH!!!

      I used to BE the critical spirit!! I’m not a perfectionist but I always believed the worst about people. God really grabbed my heart when I first got married and dealt with me. But I always have to make sure that I keep my attitude surrendered to the Lord or I could fall back into old patterns.

  4. Interesting, I blogged today on the legacy our words can leave behind! What we say or don’t say is so important.

    • Eileen, don’t you love it when God weaves a theme along the blogosphere!?! I’ll have to go and check yours out.

  5. Great post. It is so hard to “tame the tongue”, especially for those of us who love to talk! Thanks for this great reminder.

    • Hi Trina…I am so glad that God made some of us talkers. It just means we need to be even more careful that our speech is edifying and glorifying! Thanks so much for coming by and for your comment. I really appreciate it.

  6. Great post! One of the first Scriptures as a new Christian the Lord put on my heart to memorize was Psalm 141:3 – “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord, and keep watch over the door of my lips.” A good verse for those of us who tend to be talkative by nature. The old adage, “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never harm me”, is not totally true at all. While there are times, that some people’s words can be ignored or dismissed, words do hold a certain power; to hurt or heal, as you so adeptly pointed out. And with that said….i will cease to add more words to an already long “comment.” haha

    • Cathy, that is a great verse! And you are so right…but darlin’, don’t you worry about long comments on MY blog! ;D Love you.

  7. You are SO encouraging, Kate. I am thankful that we are blog friends…so thankful!! 🙂
    This post is amazing. SO TRUE. How we speak is how we live. Amen.

    Thanks for linking up to Thankful Thursday @ First Day of My Life!!
    Hope you have a beautiful Friday 🙂

    • Well, thank you, Cami!! I’m so glad you host your Thankful Thursday link-up that has brought us together!

  8. Your top pic made me LOL. These are all such good reminders. Thanks for that. Now I feel I need to go get SAVED! 😉 wink wink!

    • No..el (I love that!) that’s a picture of one of my daughters. Thanks so much for coming by. Hoping to get to know you more.

  9. Great post. Throughout the hardness of life today, I choose to fix my eyes on Jesus! Thank you for sharing this, and thank you for linking up at Leaving A Legacy.


    • Thanks, Shari. And AMEN! So glad you got to come by and thanks for hosting Leaving a Legacy…something we seldom think about. Blessings to you.


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