“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” — Proverbs 18:21
Have you ever experienced a moment in life where you believe God put the @ button directly toward you? We’ve all had them right? (If you have not yet, I pray you do.) Whether it’s in the grocery store and you hear a stranger speak life into the exact area where it was needed, or maybe your daily Bible reading plan applied directly to your current situation.
God @’d me the other day while I was watching a sermon given by Bianca Juarez Olthoff. She was speaking on the ability to speak grace and truth to others, and in that teaching she said, “Call up before you call out.” Those words pierced my soul, because it just happened to be delivered to me on a day that my patience for the world and community around me was running extra slim. I’m human, I’ll admit it.
Proverbs 18:21 says “the power of life and death” is in the tongue. Our words have the ability to bring people further along in their Godly potential or cut them into shreds. I find that when I allow Jesus to transform the way I see people — from a heavily-redeemed perspective, not a worldly one — the words that overflow from my heart are sweeter. Not just kinder, but life-changing words. Giving grace to those around you can also stem from the realization that each one of us NEEDS Jesus. We can continue to behave like broken beings, or ask Jesus to move through our words and actions so our walk can breathe new life into others.
From experience, I can tell you that life’s a lot more productive when you choose words that encourage others instead of going to combat with the tongue. Let’s look at this from a performance standpoint. Picture this: The count is 3-2, two outs, bottom of the ninth, and you’re in the batter’s box with the tying run on third base. Your coach calls a timeout and initiates a meeting. In that discussion, there are two pep talk options. Pep talk #1 includes degrading and negative talk. Pep talk #2 is full of positive reassurance in the batter’s ability to carry out the at-bat with grit and perseverance toward extending the game.
This may seem like an elementary example, but the principle is simple and yet goes unexecuted.
In my flesh, I’m constantly fighting back words that simply want to “tell it like it is” and replacing them with verbiage that inspires others to walk toward their God-given potential. When we realize that our words are less about our feelings and more about how God is using us, the power they hold is inconceivable.
Today, ask God to reveal to you those in your life who need a word from Jesus, and allow Him to use you to deliver the message. Yes, we might bite our tongue a few times, but the results are eternally worth it.
— Karlie Smith
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