Have you ever noticed how once you state something it seems to become more concrete? For instance, when you say, “That makes me so mad!” the minute those words leave your tongue you can feel your anger level rise a notch or two on the “anger meter.”
Sin is birthed in the heart (James 1:14–15), but a destructive floodgate is opened once the mouth lets loose to pour out the heart’s sinful attitudes.
A tragic example of this occurred in the early 1940s when Mao Tse-tung used the powerful technique of “speaking bitterness” to stir his political revolution. Townswomen were encouraged to discuss past violations and offenses in order to enflame emotions and stimulate painful recollection. The purpose was to produce instability through collective anger (which proved to be successful).
By stating the pain, anger, or hurt aloud—discontent, bitterness, and anger increased.
Words are powerful. Proverbs 18 tells us that death and life are in the power of the tongue. James describes the tongue as a “restless evil” and full of deadly poison. He also uses the metaphor of a forest fire to describe the destructive consequences of an untamed tongue:
[box]“How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!” (James 3:5).[/box]
Using your mouth recklessly is like striking a match in a dry forest.
Your words may not start a political or social revolution, they may not literally drip with poison, but they definitely have powerful impact. Self-centered complaining, bitterness, grumbling, and ingratitude characterize the language of death.
Watch the change in your attitude and in the atmosphere of your home or workplace when you intentionally engage in “speaking life” rather than “speaking bitterness.”
What kinds of words are fueling your day?
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