Remember as kids the words we used to hear on the playgrounds;"sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!" Do you believe that? Were you ever thrilled by praise or devastated by a cruel remark. As time advances our skin becomes thicker but we still bear the scars of words.
Let us think a minute about a short bit of advice by Dorothy Law Nolte.
CHILDREN LEARN WHAT THEY LIVE
If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to be shy.
If children live live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children learn to live with tolerance, they learn to be patient.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with praise, they learn to appreciate.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with acceptance and friendship, they learn to find love in the world.
Sobering, at the least.
The Bible tells us that we are made in the image of God. God created the Universe simply by speaking. Imagine the immense creative power behind the words that God speaks. The distant galaxies, sub-atomic particles, color, contrast, and senses came into existence simply by God speaking. In Revelation the scriptures also say that God in judgment slew His enemies with the double edge sword that preceded from his mouth. He simply spoke and they were destroyed. We have this same ability, but on a much limited basis. We can create, we can destroy.
We run across verses such as:
Matthew 12:36. "But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."
James 3:3 - 10 "When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. (4) Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. (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. (6) The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. (7)All kinds of animals, have been tamed by man, (8)but no man can tame the tongue. It is restless evil, full of deadly poison. (9) With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. (10) Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be."
The imagery in verse 8 is vivid. If disturbed, you can see a snakes restless head moving back and forth until finally it strikes its victim and sinks its poison-filled fangs into the body.
Proverbs 13:3 "He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin."
Proverbs 18:20-21 "From the fruit of his mouth a man's stomach is filled; with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat it fruit."
Isaiah 5:20 "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter,"
Isaiah 5:26 "Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the LORD Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel."Jeremiah 15:19 "Therefore this is what the LORD says: "If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman."