Have you ever said something that you wish you could take back? Have you ever destroyed or damaged a relationship because of words you’ve spoken or written to someone? Or have you ever built someone up with encouraging words or wisdom that they have appreciated? The entire book of Proverbs is filled with wise words from Solomon, and he warns us in 12:18
“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
And conversely in 16:24 he states “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”
When you speak, do you speak with swords or honey? The wisest people encountered are those who tend to listen first, take a moment, and then speak. James challenges us about taming our tongues, and he can see that even though it is a small part of the body – it can cause the most damage.
“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water” (James 3:9-12).
Focus on your words – take a moment before you speak or give advice to someone and allow God to use you and your words for His glory. Allow it to be your prayer – Lord, help me to be slow to speak and quick to listen (James 1:19).