A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Proverbs 25:11 (ESV)
David and his son, Solomon, as kings of Israel, were deeply aware of the importance of saying the right things at the right time. “I will watch what I do and not sin in what I say. I will hold my tongue when the ungodly are around me.” Psalm 39:1 (NLT)
All relationships are built around words. Some words are remembered years after they were spoken, sometimes, years after the speaker has passed away – because of the effect those words had on the soul of the hearer. Thoughtless words are known to have created a permanent rift between two persons, whose lives, otherwise, might have been a source of mutual blessing. “So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!” James 3:5 (ESV).
On the other hand, words used rightly have great power and may even change the course of a person’s life. Tactful and conciliatory language makes lives easy for everyone concerned. “Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.” Proverbs 25:15 (ESV).
In a Christian, an uncontrolled or quarrelsome tongue is a sign of immaturity, of spiritual childishness. So, we should learn to reflect on the effect of our words. Over the years, we should 1. try and grow out of bad habits of the tongue, and 2. practise saying kind, encouraging and positive words. Yes, it does take practice, and practice makes perfect. “Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.” James 3:2 (NLT)
Often, it is great wisdom to ignore slights and cruel words intended to upset us. In our speech, more than in anything else, we ought to turn the other cheek. Very difficult to do, of course, but as we press on, trusting Jesus and refusing to accept defeat, we will get there.
A tamed tongue can help us enjoy a peaceful life. By refusing to speak negative words and by confessing scripture verses to counter negative feelings, we will gain the victory. We should do this, not because we fear people, but because we wish to be imitators of Jesus, who held His peace before His accusers (Mark 14:62 KJV).
“Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” Psalm 141:3 (ESV). When I am hurt by the words of others, let me turn to You for comfort. Help me to change the way I say things, so that my words have a positive impact on people’s lives. Fill my mind with wisdom and my heart with peace; help me to speak words that edify. Let my conversation be full of grace, and not cause anyone unnecessary pain. In Jesus’ name.”