Children are very entertaining. Their smiles, laughter, words, and silly faces bring delight to those who are watching. Recently we have seen numerous photos of two famous children—Prince George and Princess Charlotte—and the captions give hints about the words spoken or the meaning of their facial expressions. A few months ago, one photo of Princess Charlotte was quite popular. She was riding in the car on the way to her uncle’s royal wedding, and she stuck out her tongue. While there were many adoring comments and posts, we realize in the coming years Princess Charlotte will learn this is not acceptable behavior for a member of the royal family.
All of us are taught lessons growing up about the use of our lips, tongue, and words. We begin as young children and learn to give kisses, taste food, experience texture of cake and vegetables. Consonant sounds are developed — dada, ball, dog, momma, and the infamous word, “no.” Over time a child’s vocabulary expands and they begin to express themselves verbally. But along with this important aspect of our verbal development, there will come a day when we will experience harsh, unkind, and untrue words. Yes, we all have felt the pain these types of words can inflict upon our souls.
“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.” ~Proverbs 12:18, 19
Proverbs speaks about the lips, tongue, and the power of words in many verses. We have important choices to make each day in our conversations, and we should carefully choose the very words we will speak. Words hold amazing power in the hearts of people. When words are uplifting, our immune system as well as our physiological and emotional health experience improvement. They can bring gladness to our hearts and even guard our very life. Research findings report that kind words spoken to others will reduce our blood pressure and bring emotional warmth, as well as benefit the other person. Win, win!
“Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” ~Proverbs 12:25
“Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” ~Proverbs 13:3
How do we use our words? Do we build up the people around us each day – family members, friends, work associates? Are my words gentle? This word, gentle, literally means healing. Proverbs pictures a gentle tongue as “a tree of life,” one that speaks words of healing, and acts as a source of life to others.
“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” ~Proverbs 15:4
How will I use my lips, tongue, words, and mouth today? Will I speak the truth rather than lie? Will I choose to bless others—offer a good word, build someone up, speak gentle and kind words? Will my words be gracious to another?
Take time—pause—and ask Him to fill your mouth with gentle and gracious words. I encourage you to practice speaking words that give sweetness and health to those people all around you. As you read the book of Proverbs, are you listening to God’s wise words? Are you seeking ways to apply the wisdom principles found in these chapters?
“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” ~Proverbs 16:24