Proverbs 18:21 says “Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
Let me paraphrase: people who love the sound of their own voice will eventually eat life and/or death depending on what they sow.
Now this is not a foreign concept to many of you who are reading this. You know the concepts of reaping and sowing and of asking and receiving. You know that the power that spoke the world into being with a word resides in you. You know that the way you interact with others will impact them and that yes, you can bring life and death in equal measure with your words.
This last one is not a bad thing if you really think about it and really corresponds with the calling God gives Jeremiah. “I have appointed you today over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and demolish, to build and to plant.” Very often there is something that needs to be weeded out, there are walls and barriers to break down before good life and good fruit can come forth. Jesus also says that those vines that don’t bear fruit must be pruned back. This all good and fine but we must also ask ourselves “where exactly am I uprooting and tearing down?” The thing about words, especially in this day and age is that they have a habit of echoing around the walls of the massive cavern called “internet” or “social media” where people can pick up bits and pieces of what we say without knowing what exactly was going on.
Example, the cartoon here was posted on facebook to deliberately challenge what a group of men thought about the differences between the two scenarios. The most common reaction from these men made me grind my teeth in frustration and anger. The kindest version was “Room six doesn’t have faith.”
That can echo to a fellow like me, who recently lost someone very dear. I sat in the hospital praying and fasting for a miracle and I didn’t get one. I cried out “why God? Why?”
Now I am strong in my faith regardless of the trials of this life. But what if I wasn’t? The lack of compassion from those comments echoed just as strongly as the words themselves and if I was hurt and looking for comfort, I would turn away from Christians and probably from Christ at that point.
Remember brothers, life and death is in the power of your tongue. Just because you don’t see the person listening, doesn’t mean they can’t hear you.