7 day plan

The Power of Words

Day 2 of 7


Proverbs 18:21

21The tongue has the power of life and death,

and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Reflection: Growing up, the third child out of four, my father was very worried about how I would survive in the big wide world. I wore my heart on my sleeve, and he was convinced life would crush me. I had to be better equipped. So he teased me to toughen me up. And it worked. I could come up with the clever put-downs with the best of them. I learned how to shut down my feelings and to put on the mask of confidence.

But just stop for a minute and think about what happens when clever repartee and one upmanship are flying around the room.

I can tell you. I began my career in commercial radio news. A newsroom was not for the faint hearted! The wit flowed. One biting barb after another. Each potentially finding its hidden mark – piercing someone’s external armour going straight to their heart, but could we see the damage? Of course not. We all tried to out-tough the next one.

We were inflicting death, not life, but we thought ourselves so clever!

Question:  What environments or people flick a switch inside you, leading you to let loose that damaging tongue? How might you address this behaviour?

Prayer:  Creator God, I do not want to speak death through my mouth. I want to affirm life. Give me the courage to look deep inside at the feelings and emotions that trigger bad behaviours and damaging words. And help me to keep trying, as this is so important.


Proverbs 18:1-24

1An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends

and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.

2Fools find no pleasure in understanding

but delight in airing their own opinions.

3When wickedness comes, so does contempt,

and with shame comes reproach.

4The words of the mouth are deep waters,

but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream.

5It is not good to be partial to the wicked

and so deprive the innocent of justice.

6The lips of fools bring them strife,

and their mouths invite a beating.

7The mouths of fools are their undoing,

and their lips are a snare to their very lives.

8The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;

they go down to the inmost parts.

9One who is slack in his work

is brother to one who destroys.

10The name of the Lord is a fortified tower;

the righteous run to it and are safe.

11The wealth of the rich is their fortified city;

they imagine it a wall too high to scale.

12Before a downfall the heart is haughty,

but humility comes before honor.

13To answer before listening—

that is folly and shame.

14The human spirit can endure in sickness,

but a crushed spirit who can bear?

15The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge,

for the ears of the wise seek it out.

16A gift opens the way

and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.

17In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right,

until someone comes forward and cross-examines.

18Casting the lot settles disputes

and keeps strong opponents apart.

19A brother wronged is more unyielding than a fortified city;

disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.

20From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled;

with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied.

21The tongue has the power of life and death,

and those who love it will eat its fruit.

22He who finds a wife finds what is good

and receives favor from the Lord.

23The poor plead for mercy,

but the rich answer harshly.

24One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,

but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.