Communication is well known to be either an obstacle or a passageway to success for marriage; or any relationship for that matter. We can either wreak havoc with our words and facial expressions or build up. There are many verses in the Bible about our tongue; here are a few:
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
Proverbs 17:27 Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
Proverbs 21:23 Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.
Proverbs 16:24 Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
Let’s browse through some principles that can be learned from these verses. I love tearing verses apart and studying key words!
- Corrupt talk: humiliating; demeaning; undignified; shameful; contaminating; harming; damaging. (Antonym: decent; honest; honorable; pure; trustworthy; wholesome)
- Grace: favor, good will, kindness, disposition to oblige another; Webster 1828 definition: Virtuous or religious affection or disposition, as a liberal disposition, faith, meekness, humility, patience, etc. proceeding from divine influence.
Quite a contrast, right? Imagine speaking to one another in a way that is honest yet full of virtuous affection! Some of the benefits are faith in each other, meekness, humility, and patience.
- Death: demise; loss; decease
- Life: existence; high spirits; activity; energy; enthusiasm; entity; lifeblood
- Power: ability; competence; dynamism; gift
- Love: adore; appreciate
- Eat: consume; absorb; devour; digest
- Fruits: harvest; results of labor; benefit; effect.
Loss/demise and high spirits/energy are in the ability of the tongue…and those who adore it will absorb/digest its harvest. In other words, you can either cause death and demise with your words, or you can lift someone’s spirits and give them energy. Which harvest do you want to digest?
- Restrains: keep under control; hold back
- Knowledge: person’s understanding; information; awareness
- Cool: calm; collected; levelheaded
- Understanding: comprehend; the faculty of the human mind by which it apprehends the real state of things presented to it
The one who keeps his words under control is aware. His calm, levelheaded spirit is a man who comprehends what is presented to him.
- Keeps: maintains; holds; conserves; protects
This one is a no-brainer. You keep yourself out of trouble when you protect what you say, when you say it and how you say it. Become a professional question asker. Making statements can make someone be on the defensive. Don’t say anything when you know you shouldn’t say it. You can also say the right thing with a really bad attitude. Those are guaranteed ways to get in trouble! Holding your tongue does not mean that you shut up and hold things in. However, there might be a time that you need to hold off for a while until your attitude improves or the timing is better. It is so important, if you do decide to hold off on communicating in the moment, to let the other person know that you are thinking about it AND make sure you get back with them!
- Gracious: pleasant; agreeableness
- Honeycomb: a structure of hexagonal, thin-walled cells constructed from beeswax by honeybees to hold honey (& larvae).
- Soul: a breathing creature
- Health: strength; vigor; well-being
Pleasant words are sweet like honey; sweetness to the breathing creature giving strength and well-being.
Hopefully this will open our eyes to the importance of our words and the effect they have on the human spirit. We can give life or cause death to the spirit. Our words need to be honest and produce grace to the hearer. It is so important to keep our words under control and aware of what is being said in a calm and levelheaded way so that when other’s words come to us that we comprehend what their heart is saying. You will stay out of trouble if you protect what you say, when you say it and how you speak. Then we see the sweet reward of learning to communicate in God’s ways with the results of our lives being full of health, strength and well-being.
It is so encouraging to me that God knew our tendency to live in the flesh with our mouths and yet He lovingly instructs us on steps to lead us to strong and prosperous lives. It always boils down to that choice. The choice that is presented to us in the heat of the moment. The more we know God’s word and the more we hide it in our hearts; the more we live in His ways and reap these amazing benefits.