Verse 18: "There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, But the tongue of the wise promotes health. "
I've heard it said that some folks make a room brighter when they walk into it, while some brighten a room when they walk out. Whatever good someone does, there is an opposite opportunity to do harm. Today's "gold nugget" tells of the person that does great harm when he speaks - As harmful as a piercing sword. Adversely, there are also wise who bring health to others with the words they say. Elsewhere in Proverbs we read that "Death and life are in the power of the tongue," (Proverbs 18:21a) We can either bring death or life with the things we say. Maybe not physical death, but spiritual death and destruction or spiritual life and encouragement. Don't under estimate the power of the tongue. Consider James 5:4-5, "4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. 5Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!" We have an affect on others by even the smallest things we say. We have a choice. We can use our words to build someone up or tear someone down. There are suggested guidelines that could be implemented right away to ensure that your words are not destructive to others. Make a healthy "compliments to criticism ratio" part of your personal policy. Some suggest a 3:1 ratio, while others suggest a 5:1. In other words, to use the 5:1 ratio, you would ensure you made 5 compliments to even 1 criticism. It may seem like a lot, but if you are not close enough to a person to find 5 complimentary things to say about them, you are probably not close enough to criticize them. We are called to be builders, not destroyers. Maybe today is the day that God will make the changes in you and me that will ensure our ability to be builders.
Lord, I know that I don't always ensure my tongue is uttering the right things. Help me to remember that you have trained me to be an encourager and not a discourager. Amen