For guns we get a license – even for cars. But there is something that everyone is issued, which has even more power, but because there is no license required, many people do not know how to use it. It’s the tongue, and Proverbs tells us that in the tongue is the power of life and death.
What if we gave licenses to people before they were allowed to use their tongues. We could have a DMV that stands for “Department of Monitored Vocalizations.” And then instead of an eye test you had a mouth test to demonstrate your competence.
The writer of Proverbs is very aware of the power of words. There are probably more proverbs devoted to human speech than any other slice of human life.
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. (Proverbs 18:21)
With our words when we’re careless we can do so much damage, right? We can crush somebody’s spirit.
We can step on somebody’s dream. We can fill somebody with resentment. We can make other people,even our own children, afraid.
I have also learned that, when you say the right word at the right time it can bring tremendous joy and hope to someone. You can say the right word at the right time and, somebody who thought they were alone realizes they are not alone; that they are loved.
You can say the right word at the right time and somebody who was confused receives guidance and direction. Somebody who is ready to give up all of a sudden can carry on.
Words really do have the power of life or death. Here’s another related proverb…This one is from Proverbs, Chapter 29:
Do you see a man who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for him. (Proverbs 29:20)
So let’s listen well, speak carefully, thoughtfully; because there is life and death in the power of the tongue!