The Bible tells us that the power of life and death is in the tongue. Why, then, don’t we use it for life instead of for death? I believe that we as Christians, more than anyone else, should be very careful that we are not speaking words that hurt others or ourselves.

I’ve talked about the bad things that happen when we speak the wrong words, and how our words can inflict great damage on others as well as ourselves. Here are some of the good things we can do with words. By avoiding deadly words and speaking words that have life in them, our words can do wonderful things for others as well as ourselves.

Consider Proverbs 15:1a: A gentle answer turns away wrath. If you speak with gentle words, you can dissipate someone else’s wrath. I remember a public service ad on television depicting parents saying awful things to their children. Such things as I’m sorry you were ever born. You’ll never amount to anything. You can’t do anything right. You’re nothing but trouble. The ad made the point that as parents we need to be careful what we say to our children, because our words will shape them into the people they become.

It’s true for parents and everyone else; our words shape how others behave. So often managers get the wrong reaction out of their people and demotivate them by their poor choice of words.

Did you know that your tongue has healing powers? Proverbs 12:18b says that the tongue of the wise brings healing, and in chapter 16:24 we read, “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

Your own pleasant words can bring healing to your own soul and bones. And they can bring healing to others, too. How? Well, pleasant words can surely heal wounds of bitterness and broken relationships. Often physical problems have their beginnings in the mind and the emotions. And many times those problems began with either the wrong spoken words or the absence of needed words.

Well, we can’t do anything about the words we’ve already spoken, but we surely can, by God’s grace, start to control our words now so that we’re speaking words of life, not death.