“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
-Proverbs 12:18 NIV
I remember a time when I was a teenager and needed to confess an addiction to my parents. I was struggling with a sin and could not get out of it on my own. When I told my dad, I expected him to scold me or punish me. Instead, he hugged me, encouraged me, and then claimed we needed to pray against it. That night, as I cried and he prayed over me, speaking against that addiction and claiming that it had no place in my life, the addiction broke as shame and condemnation fell off me. I felt the grace of God and freedom like I had never experienced before.
Imagine instead if he had chosen to tell me how worthless I am, or how disappointed he was in me that I had failed, or told me I would never measure up or achieve anything? What if he had spoken discouragement into my life and left me alone; broken, hurting, and ashamed?
In order to gain the freedom I experienced that night, I would have needed to come back to Jesus by myself, and allow Him to speak truth over the lies of guilt and shame. I would have needed His Holy Spirit to speak life into me. Either way, words needed to be spoken over me that would bring life, and not death. Encouragement, and not shame.
How many times have people spoken something negative to you that affected you? Maybe it hurt you, maybe it made you angry… obviously we choose how we react to the things people say, but it takes an understanding of what the truth actually is to counteract the lies that have been spoken over us.
Words have the power to effect change. Whether it comes from people, or from the Holy Spirit himself, we need words of life and truth to be spoken into our lives and situations. In the beginning, God brought life into the world with just a few words. Then He created us as reflections of Himself, equipped with a powerful tool called the tongue. The words we speak have the power to either tear down and bring death, or build up and bring life.
This is why prayer is so powerful. We have been given the tool that we need to bring change everywhere we go. We just need to utilize it! The next time you think about something negatively such as “that will never happen…” or “I’m not good at this…” or “I’m never going to change…” stop and ask the Holy Spirit if that is His truth. If it is not, speak the truth out loud. Speak it into existence. “I am loved. I am chosen. I do have a purpose. I will kick that bad habit. It will not always be this way. God is faithful. His promises are true.”
You are equipped with everything you need to speak words of life, power, strength, and encouragement both for yourself and for everyone you come into contact with. What change do you want to effect? Do you want to speak words that tear down and bring death? Or words that build up, strengthen, and speak life? Choose life.
Jesus, thank you for your grace and faithfulness to me. Thank you for your love. Thank you for the gift of my tongue. Lord, I ask you to use my tongue to bring glory to you. Remind me to speak words of encouragement and truth. Holy Spirit teach me to use wisdom with the words I say, and remind me the power of agreeing with you in prayer. Thank you for helping me to speak life!