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Years ago, a mentor of mine encouraged me to do a study in Proverbs, a book in the Bible, by writing out every verse that contained the words: tongue, lips, or mouth. He asked me to reflect on those verses and let them speak to me about the importance of the words we speak.
The words we speak are very similar to money. Money is not good or bad, it's how we use our money that determines it's attribute. So it is with our words, they are not determined good or bad until they are passed through the filter of motives.
I will not pretend to have this subject conquered, but I have to revisit this study periodically as a reminder how my words can build great leaders or lay a path of total destruction. And I am the one responsible for what comes out of my mouth.
The following are just the verses in Proverbs (NIV) that contain the word "tongue". Read one or two of them each day for the next week and just see if you find any pearls of wisdom or enlightenment about how words matter.
Do you think words matter? Would love for you to comment.
haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,
Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.
The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value.
From the mouth of the righteous comes the fruit of wisdom, but a perverse tongue will be silenced.
Whoever derides their neighbor has no sense, but the one who has understanding holds their tongue.
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.
The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.
To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the proper answer of the tongue.
A wicked person listens to deceitful lips; a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.
One whose heart is corrupt does not prosper; one whose tongue is perverse falls into trouble.
Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.
Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.
Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.
Like a north wind that brings unexpected rain is a sly tongue—which provokes a horrified look.
A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin.
Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor rather than one who has a flattering tongue.
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.