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The Power Of The Tongue By Rev. Rebekah Lawson

How many of you have heard, “You better watch what you say, It might come true.” I grew up in the south and our tradition was so big on watching every word we say so that we don’t bring evil into our lives. They defiantly took it a little to far sometimes. People would as if we were ok, how we were, and you always say good or fine or great. You never tell people the truth. “Well a little under the weather and just want to sleep.” You always had to be positive. There is nothing wrong with telling the truth as long as you realize you don’t let it get you stuck where you are forever. They even went into the whole “name it and claim it” teaching and that was way to much claiming things that were not theirs to claim. As much as that can go way to far, there is some credibility to the understanding that words have power. When someone speaks into someone's life they can tear them down or they can build them up. They can admonish them to do good or to do evil. They can be the force that helps people be more than they think they can be and do more than they think they can do just with their words.

Proverbs 18:20-21:

20From the fruit of a man’s mouth, his stomach will be satisfied, as for the yield of his lips, it will satisfy.

21Death and life are in the ⌊power⌋ of the tongue, and those who love her (wisdom) will eat of her fruit. [1]

What we say can bring death into our lives or it can bring life into our lives. I can look at myself and say to myself, “Man you are such a looser. There is no way you can do that,” or I can say, “Yes this is going to be hard but If I try I might succeed. Don’t give up.” I can look at my children and say, “What is wrong with you, you are not worth my time,” or I can say, “Dude that was not good. Don’t do that but let me show you how to do this. You are a smart person. You can figure it out.” Which do you think is going to bring life and which one is going to bring death? I did not lie. I told them they had done wrong but I also spoke into their character and created an understanding that will stay with them forever instead of tear them down forever.

Proverbs 15:4:

4Gentleness of tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it causes a break in spirit. [2]

We are called to speak truth in gentleness. That does not mean that we to not correct or punish, but means we allow our correction to come with the understanding that reconciliation is the key. Correct while always wanting reconciliation.

James 3:2-12:

2For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect individual, able to hold in check his whole body also. 3And if we put bits in the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we also guide their whole bodies. 4Behold also ships: although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot wishes. 5So also the tongue is a small member of the body* and boasts great things. Behold how small a fire sets ablaze how great a forest! 6And the tongue is a fire! The world of unrighteousness, the tongue, is set among our members, defiling the whole body and setting on fire ⌊the course of human existence⌋, being set on fire by hell.

7For every species of animals and birds, of reptiles and sea creatures, is being tamed and has been tamed by the human species, 8but no human being is able to tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9With it we bless the* Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so! 11A spring does not pour forth from the same opening fresh and bitter water, does it?* 12A fig tree is not able, my brothers, to produce olives, or a grapevine figs. Neither can a saltwater spring produce fresh water. [3]

In my life I have had both death and life spoken into my life. I had a teacher once tell me that because I was dyslexic I would never go to college and my stubbornness proved them wrong. I have been told that I would sing and take on the world and that was also so true. I also have had visions of myself in my life that I have had to fight against and change the understanding of who I am. I was told I was not worth a husband and a great life because I have a past, but the Bible tells me I am a new creature. Old this are gone and all things have been made new. I have been told because of my learning disabilities I will never think right, but the Bible tells me I have the mind of Christ and a sound mind. What are those things you have been told that just are not true because your identity is in God? Every day I would tell myself what I am according the Bible and reprogram myself so that my understanding of me is God’s understanding of me. I am the righteousness of Christ in Christ Jesus.

In this time of division we should be thinking about what we say to each other. We should be correcting and bringing in wisdom while understanding that reconciliation and healing is the goal always. We should be looking at each other through the lens of Child of God and not as political party. We should understand that our words can create or they can destroy and we should be looking for wisdom in our leaders and calling them to watch their words as well so that life can come back into this beat up country. It is time for healing. It is time for us to speak the healing into existence with every word that we speak into our lives and each others lives. It is time for us to hold back on the rhetoric and speak truth in love.

[1] Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible (Pr 18:20–21). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press. [2] Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible (Pr 15:4). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press. [3] Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible (Jas 3:2–12). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.


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