Last week I wrote about HOPE and offered suggestions of things you can do to help bring more hope to your life. But what about those times that we just cannot seem to muster up that hope? When we feel much more hopeless rather than hopeful?
Just because we are Christians that pray, spend time with God and read our Bibles does not mean that we are immune to hopelessness filtering into our lives. We are, after all, only human. So how can we discover what could possibly be causing this issue?
This week I am going to address one thing that I believe is critical for us in order to change that hopeless feeling, to one of hope – and, believe me, it can be a mountain to climb. What is it? We must learn to control our tongue. The tongue is not only one of our strongest muscles in our body*, but it can influence so much in our life and the lives of others. “You will have to live with the consequences of everything you say. What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words. (Proverbs 18:20-21a GNT)
Think about it – we have all opened our mouths and allowed words to spew forth that ended up being very hurtful to the person we are speaking with. It may have been an innocent thing or it may have been intentional. But remember, words once spoken cannot ever be taken back, so we need to be careful what we allow to proceed out of our mouth. “God, give me grace to guard my lips from speaking what is wrong.” (Psalm 141:3 TPT)
Have you ever seen a young child that is being verbally disciplined by someone in authority, that is speaking cruel words? Many times the child will cower and cry – you can see that they are obviously wounded in their spirit. I have always heard that children believe what is spoken to them about their value. If a child/young person is told long enough and loud enough that “you will never amount to anything” – “you are SO stupid” – “why do you always do the wrong thing?”, etc., then there is a strong likelihood that those words will come true in that life. But that child/young person that has uplifting, encouraging words spoken to them long enough and loud enough will begin to believe what they are hearing. “You can do this, I know you can!” “I know that class is hard for you, but I know that you are capable of learning it.” “You are going to have such a good life because you work hard to succeed!”, etc. These words too will likely come true in that life.
Now think about a time when you were speaking to someone that was facing difficult issues in their life – they needed hope and encouragement. You were able to say something thoughtful that lifted them up – sometimes you can see it on their face and/or in their body posture immediately. “Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal.” (Proverbs 12:18 GNT) “Kind words bring life, but cruel words crush your spirit.” (Proverbs 15:4 GNT) “Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” (Proverbs 16:24 NLT) You get the idea – our tongues/words are very powerful. [Emphasis mine]
“A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell. This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth! My friends, this can’t go on.” (James 3:3-10 MSG) [Emphasis mine]
“Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous? Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.” (Psalm 34:12-14 NLT)
For Christmas a few years ago, my daughter gave me one of those little spiral calendars** that you turn the page daily. For about two weeks in the month of October the thought/prayer/verse of the day dealt with this topic of the tongue and the impact of our words. In closing, I want to share with you what it said on October 8 and maybe you can let it be your prayer for the day: “Lord, help me to guard my mouth so that I won’t speak careless or destructive words. I regret any time I have said words that may have hurt someone or made them feel bad. Help me to be careful with the words I speak so that they always bring life, love, and encouragement to others. I know that the words I speak can set the stage in my life for the good or the bad. Help me to speak words that build up and not tear down. Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles. Proverbs 21:23”
Written by Karran Martin – January 8, 2022
**Prayers for Emotional Wholeness” by Stormie Omartian (An inspirational Dayspring® Daybrightener®)