Remember the old childhood chant, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me?” Perhaps you used it yourself as a defense for the sting of a school bully. Perhaps, as an adult, you silently said it to yourself when your boss or spouse spoke to you in a negative tone. Or, worse yet, perhaps you’ve been the victim of verbal or emotional abuse.

What we say has the power to build up or tear down. James exhorts us to tame the tongue (James 3:10).

Have you ever considered how words can affect our physical and emotional healing? Have you noticed how we speak to others or to ourselves when we talk about illness or disease?

Too often, we make seemingly innocent statements like, “You are driving me crazy!” Or the more common one, “My back is killing me.” These words roll off our tongue as quickly as lightning, but we probably don’t notice the effect they have. In essence, we are speaking death — not life — to each other or to ourselves.

Ever wonder what kind of healing might occur if we would only use gentle and gracious words, as the proverb quoted above wisely admonishes us to use? Just imagine how many dry bones would come to life and how many hearts would be mended, if we thought about every word before we spoke it.

Lord, what results I would see for myself and others if only I’d use words of life for healing! Remind me of that each time I speak. Amen.

Go Deeper — Review scriptures which reference “mouth or tongue”. Post those in places where you’ll be reminded how precious our life-giving words are and how they lead to healing. Practice using them daily.

Tags: Proverbs Proverbs 16
Photo Credit: Faye Cornish