The Great Choice

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40 Days of Prayer: Day 36

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”

— James 3:9-10 (NIV)

The tongue has the power of life and death,
    and those who love it will eat its fruit.

— Proverbs 18:21

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

— Ephesians 4:29

Every time we open our mouths to speak, we make a choice. We choose to either speak life or death—to lift up or tear down—those to whom we speak. Unfortunately, we do not always make this decision consciously. Many times our words explode from between our lips like Luke Skywalker escaping the Death Star leaving devastation in their wake. We use phrases like, “I just speak my mind. I don’t have a filter.” Or, my favorite, “Well…I’m not gonna lie! I speak the truth in love, and sometimes love hurts.” Other times we feel guilty and say, “I don’t know why I said that. I didn’t mean it.” when we hurt someone with our words. It’s hard to deny that words matter. They have power. Sticks and stones can definitely break bones but words can break spirits.

On the other hand, words can also heal, encourage, strengthen, teach, show love, correct, protect…the list goes on. In fact, it is incredible to think about the number of opportunities that we have to use positive words. Consider this: It has been said that women speak, on average, as much as 20,000 words a day, and men speak, on average, around 7,000 words a day. Ignoring the obvious gap and all the snarky comments that accompany such a revelation, lets do some math.

Women:
20,000 x 365 = 7,300,000 opportunities a year to speak life.

Men:
7,000 x 365 = 2,555,000 opportunities a year to speak life.

It seems to take a lot of positive words to repair the damage of one or two negative words. Much like a hurricane can leave months, if not years, of devastation to be cleaned up, the damage of our negative words is not easily cleaned up nor should they be. Negativity goes against our very nature. We were made in the image of God—the Giver of Life. Therefore, we should also give life. Death is the result of the curse (Genesis 3) which stands to reason that our negative words are from the curse as well. 

Where does this leave us? Back at the beginning. Every time we open our mouths to speak, we make a choice. The challenge is to understand the full impact of that choice which is made thousands of times a day. The question is are we going to leverage those opportunities the way we were created or the way we were cursed? Are we going to choose life or death?

What are you going to do today to start consciously choosing life when you speak? 

Thank you for reading. Now, please go to our Prayer Wall and pray for the needs there. You may also post your own needs there.

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