October 16, 2015

A Healing Tongue

Proverbs 12:17-28

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Truthful lips endure forever.

—  Proverbs 12:18-19

As a pastor, I kept a copper container with two, meter-long swords in my study. Visitors often commented, wondering why I displayed them. I’d explain that they reminded me of my aversion to the rhyme “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Reckless words can pierce like swords, leaving lifelong scars.

Few of us would say we’ve never been hurt by someone’s words. Solomon states, “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Words do hurt. And words do heal. James 3:10 tells us, “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”

Christ’s followers must control their tongues. Christ’s followers must desire helpful, honest, and healing communication. Saying what is factual or apparent may not be an excuse to hurt someone. Our words must seek to encourage even when an admonition is needed.

Helpful words begin with listen­ing to those in relationship with us. Good counsel includes knowing the person we’re talking to. Honest and healing words come from those who have learned to look at ­others through the eyes of Jesus. His words were wise, and ours must be too. Words make a difference.

Lord, thank you for the gift of speech, the use of words. Help me to guard my tongue so that I speak wisely and encourage ­others to walk in your ways. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — George Vink

Pastor George Vink has served as a pastor in the Christian Reformed Church for more than 30 years in British Columbia, Montana, Michigan, and California. He and his wife, Shirley, have four married sons and nine grandchildren.

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