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I wonder how many words I have used in my lifetime. In my speech, in my writing, in my thoughts – that’s far more than I care to count. How about you? Are you a man (or woman) of few words? Or are you known as a talker? I think I’m somewhere in the middle of those extremes.

The point I’m getting at is that words are important and powerful. More than we often realize. How much damage can be done by the words we use? How much good? Can there be too many words? Too few? Too many things left unsaid? Can there be too much of a good thing?

Rain is necessary to water the earth. But too much rain brings dangerous floods. We all like the warmth of a campfire. But when flames are raging out of control, valuable things are demolished. A gentle breeze is refreshing. But a mighty wind becomes a destructive hurricane.

The tongue is a valuable, remarkable part of our anatomy. It’s not beautiful, but useful and practical. The Bible has some strong comments about this muscular tissue in our mouths. “The tongue,” James says, “is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!” (That’s James 3:5, ESV.) He goes on to say: “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness” (James 3:9, NIV).

The book of Proverbs has many references to the tongue. Here’s an example: “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18, ESV).

So I guess the question of the day is: How will we use our tongues? To bless or to curse? To build up or tear down? To hurt or to heal? As a powerful tool in the Master’s hands? Or as a dispenser of selfishness and lies?

The prayer of the psalmist has long been my own. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14, NKJ). If that’s our model, how can we go wrong?


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