The words we speak are powerful. The words we speak can bring life and peace. The words we speak can affect others either positively or negatively.
In Proverbs 18:21, it says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue….” That’s a lot of power!
With our words, we have the power to bring life and peace to others. Here are two practical ways to help us accomplish this: (1) We can pause before we speak, and (2) we can aim for and pursue peace as we speak. Pause means a temporary stop or rest, maybe you stop because of uncertainty.
Here are two verses that help us to pause before we speak:
By pausing before we speak, we can consciously decide to speak words that bring life and peace and refrain from speaking words that don’t do that.
Some situations we encounter are more complicated than others. Especially in these situations, it is important to be slow to speak, not hasty in our words.
We see Jesus Christ operating this principle (swift to hear, slow to speak) in a very challenging situation (a situation between life and death). In the record of John 8, the scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus a question with the goal of tempting him in order to condemn him. Jesus’ response would directly affect the life of a woman brought before him, who had been accused by men of committing adultery.
In Colossians 3:16, it says, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom." The word refers to the lesson learned from certain situations, such as the one in John 8 with Jesus and the woman. Let that word (that life lesson) dwell in your heart and mind. Let it permeate every aspect of your being, as you learn, teach, and share spiritual lessons from life. And admonish (counsel or advise) and train one another with all spiritual wisdom. That's what Colossians says.
Keeping God’s Word as our standard, we have a great resource to help communicate words that can lift a burden, lighten a heart, and bring life and peace. When the Word dwells richly in our hearts—when we are reading and thinking it consistently—it is easier to pause, bring those edifying words of life and peace to mind, and speak them to others.
Follow After Peace
Another practical way we can help assure that our words will bring life and peace to others is to follow after peace. Pursue peace.
In Romans 14:19, it says, "Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another." The Greek word translated “follow after” means to pursue. That is an active word! It reminds me of our Constitution’s preamble, which says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men AND WOMEN are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
As we make up our minds to actively pursue what makes for peace and rest and harmony, our words will reflect this. We frame our communications with the aim of bringing life and peace.
How We Say Things
One way we can actively pursue peace in our speech is by watching how we say things, not just what we say. When our body language and tone reflect peace, others are more likely to be peaceful also. Pursuing peace gives us a head start in speaking words that bring life and peace to others.
In summary, we have learned that the words we speak are powerful. Our words can bring life and peace as we choose to base our communications on a standard—God’s Word. As we allow the Word of God to dwell in us richly, we can pause and bring His words of life and peace to our minds and mouths—especially in challenging situations. As we aim for and pursue peace, our communications will reflect the truth of God’s Word in our hearts. We will see that our words do have power to bring life and peace to others.
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