Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Spoken Words Matter

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You've probably heard that "common sense is the least common of all our senses".  So many times we're given simple advice that is really just common sense, but we still need to be reminded it.  This week's post most likely falls into that category.

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.

Proverbs 6:17
haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,
Proverbs 10:19
Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.
Proverbs 10:20
The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value.
Proverbs 10:31
From the mouth of the righteous comes the fruit of wisdom, but a perverse tongue will be silenced.
Proverbs 11:12
Whoever derides their neighbor has no sense, but the one who has understanding holds their tongue.
Proverbs 12:18
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 12:19
Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.
Proverbs 15:2
The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
Proverbs 15:4
The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.
Proverbs 16:1
To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the proper answer of the tongue.
Proverbs 17:4
A wicked person listens to deceitful lips; a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.
Proverbs 17:20
One whose heart is corrupt does not prosper; one whose tongue is perverse falls into trouble.
Proverbs 17:28
Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.
Proverbs 18:21
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Proverbs 21:6
A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.
Proverbs 21:23
Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.
Proverbs 25:15
Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.
Proverbs 25:23
Like a north wind that brings unexpected rain is a sly tongue—which provokes a horrified look.
Proverbs 26:28
A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin.
Proverbs 28:23
Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor rather than one who has a flattering tongue.
Proverbs 31:26
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.


  1. John! This is great, and yes words matters. The old saying "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" is probably the worst analogy of the truth there ever was. Yet, so many people undoubtedly try to believe it is so.

    I believe there is a book titled "Hung by the Tongue." I read it years ago and don't remember it that well, but I'm sure it pointed out that words will hang not only the one speaking, but also the recepient(s).

    Blessings and thanks for a great post!

  2. Thanks Danny! Appreciate your input. I remember "Hung by the Tongue". Well, I remember reading it, but don't remember the content exactly anymore. I just remember the poor guy hanging on the cover.