In our evening series on Proverbs Mark was preaching last Sunday on the importance of our words. There are over 90 Proverbs that that give counsel about how we speak. Here are some that Mark referred to.
‘The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the Spirit.’ (Proverbs 15:4 )
‘The tongue has the power of life and death and those who love it will eat of its fruit.’ (Proverbs 18:21)
‘A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.’ (Proverbs 15:1)
‘Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.’ (Proverbs 16:24 )
When he was in office, President Obama tried very hard to change the gun laws in America to restrict gun usage. A lot of Americans disagreed with him but the stats speak for themselves. There were about 32,000 gun deaths in America last year and you are far more likely to be shot in America than the UK.
So why is it that Americans shoot themselves or others 40 times more than in the UK (0.23 per 100,000 in UK , 10.46 per 100,000 in the US). Simple answer – availability. If we all had guns in our top drawers who is to say what might be done in moments of desperation, anger or despair. I am glad guns are restricted in this country.
One reason why the tongue is so dangerous is that it is always available to be used and like a gun it can have devastating affects. It is there when we wake up and begin talking to our family, it is there at the end of the day when we are perhaps tired and ratty. But unlike a gun it can also be used for good and gracious kind words can be the best balm a soul can want.
So the message from the Proverbs we looked at on Sunday is be careful how you use your tongue – it can cause great damage but also do great good. Keeping quiet at all times is not an option, so we must aim that our words must always be ‘gracious, seasoned with salt’ (Colossians 4 vs. 6). Could it be worth beginning each day praying the words of Psalm 19 that ‘the words my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight o Lord’.