How Strong Is Your Tongue?
It's believed that Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was caused by a virus that originated from animals and spread to humans. In December 2019, the first cases of COVID-19 were identified in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. But the exact origin of the virus and how it jumped from animals to humans are still under investigation.
Newspapers reported at the time that the US president referred to the virus as a Chinese virus. His remarks sparked a global outcry because Coronavirus does not discriminate based race or ethnicity. Under public pressure, the president eventually stopped making that remark.
However, his action to stop came too late because by then his words had sparked fear of Asians, especially those living in the United States. Asian-Americans reported that incidents of racism and xenophobia had escalated. Whether through overt discrimination or unconscious bias, the president's words fuelled hatred against Asians.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. - Pr. 18:25
Words can either speak life or death.The story above illustrates this. We can either build others up or tear them down with our tongues.
Words are one of God's greatest gifts to mankind. Every parent looks forward to the day their child utters their first words. It is a moment that many people rejoice over and even cry over. Also, words allow people to exchange thoughts and ideas and express their feelings.There is nothing more powerful than listening to a gifted orator or a brilliant singer manipulate words to create an emotional response in the listener. In short words are powerful.
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. – Luke 6:45
Our words and actions reflect our hearts. When we speak or act, we reveal our thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks" suggests that what we say comes from what we already possess.We do not speak randomly, but instead express what is in our hearts.
God wants us to use our words to build others up.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. – Eph. 4:29
As believers, we are put in a position to influence those around us. The power of our words can be used to build up or tear down. If we have nothing good to say, then it would wise to say nothing.
Today, new words/phrases have been added to our vocabulary like:
(Internet) troll - a person who intentionally antagonises others online by posting inflammatory, irrelevant, or offensive comments or other disruptive content.
Keyboard warrior - a person who makes abusive or aggressive posts on the internet, typically one who conceals their true identity.
Flamer - someone who posts inflammatory or derogatory comments with the intention of sparking arguments and creating a hostile environment.
Toxic Commenter- someone who consistently post harmful or negative comments on online platforms. They contribute to a negative atmosphere and often use abusive language.
There is so much hate and negativity in the world so much so that new words have been created to describe people who use words to insult, harm, harass, and antagonise others in the internet.
Ecclesiastes 3:7 tells us that there is a time to keep silent and a time to speak. But when? How?
Silence is best in moments of anger. When we are angry, there’s a high likelihood that our words will not be produced by the Holy Spirit.
James 1:19 instructs us:
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.
Scripture tells us that silence can help us avoid sinning (Proverbs 10:19), gain respect (Proverbs 11:12), and is deemed wise and intelligent (Proverbs 17:28). In other words, you may be blessed by holding your tongue.
Let us pray,
Heavenly Father, I pray that I do all things in love, even talking. I I will make every effot to ensure that no unwholesome talk comes out of my mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. I pray that my words edify, encourage, and comfort Your people at all times because You want me to do good in everything. I pray that You be glorified in my speech.
In Jesus name I pray, AMEN.