James 3:5 “Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.”
Remember that Sunday School song, “Oh be careful little mouth what you say……”? The power of life and death reside in the tongue, according to Proverbs 18:21. Words have a way of exposing our identity. Sometimes in lethal ways….
The book of Judges describes when the tribes of Gilead and Ephraim went to war. In this conflict, 42,000 men from Ephraim died due to the misarticulation of a word.
And the Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan against the Ephraimites. And when any of the fugitives of Ephraim said, “Let me go over,” the men of Gilead said to him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” When he said, “No,” they said to him, “Then say Shibboleth,” and he said, “Sibboleth,” for he could not pronounce it right. Then they seized him and slaughtered him at the fords of the Jordan. (Judges 12:5-6)
Wow! Life and death dependent upon the ability to say “sh.”
The ancients notwithstanding, today reigns supreme as the communication age. It seems that every word uttered—especially by a celebrity—gets repeated and retweeted. Everyone voices an opinion on everything. All the while, word Nazis lurk behind the corner eager to pull out the gotcha’ gun for any word misspoken. If ever there was a time to be cautious in what we say—it is now.
Words are like tattoos. Once spoken, they create a sense of indelibility. They both shape and solidify our persona…positively or negatively. In a sense, we are what we say. The more we whine, the more we become dissatisfied. The more we allow negative thoughts about people or situations slip into words, the greater our dislike. The words of those who slander and gossip both reveal and harden their disposition toward God—they hate him! (Romans 1:29-30).
How are your words? What do they disclose about you? Do they reflect honor toward the One who gave you the ability to speak in the first place? God hears your every word. He is listening not to “catch” you, but because he loves you. Be assured: your words count…
“There’s a Father up above who is looking down in love, so be careful little mouth what you say…”