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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, June 06 2024

The importance of our words

The tongue can be a wonderful tool or a dangerous weapon. The old adage, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me," may be good in theory, but in real life it doesn't work.

God attaches great importance to what we say and holds us accountable: "...for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:34-37).

In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul wrote, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29). 2 Timothy 2:16 also instructs us: Shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase to more ungodliness.

The Ninth Commandment forbids us to “bear false witness” (Exodus 20:16), and has to do with being careful to consider every word we speak, knowing we will have to give an answer for every idle word spoken. Bearing false witness not only includes lying, but also includes not telling the whole truth, repeating something you heard without finding out if it is true, or making a statement with the intent to create a false impression.

James chapter 3 also addresses the pitfalls of the misuse of the tongue, when our words should uplift and encourage: “But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so” (James 3:8-10).

There are also many verses in the book of Proverbs that address the use of the tongue and we are instructed in Ephesians 4:29: “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” We should never underestimate the importance of our words. God wants our words to build up, to edify, to encourage, not tear down or discourage. As Solomon wrote: “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24).