“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (Prov. 12:18)
Observing much of the negative rhetoric, conspiracy theories and verbal assaults on people in the news media and on social media it’s sad to say that even professing Christians are subject to engaging in the onslaught of negative words. Scripture says “even the very elect will be deceived in the last days (Matt. 24:24). We must be careful of the intake of the language being espoused daily. Many news hosts, pundits commentators offer mass media their opinion or commentary on a particular subject area or political analysis on which they are knowledgeable or appear to be knowledgeable and often tainted with personal feelings and opinion. Keep in mind the catch word is ‘opinion‘.
Language, including speaking, writing and reading, is the primary tool used for expression and communication. Words, both positive and negative shape people and culture. They can also help us better understand ourselves and why we behave the way we do. Proverbs 4:23 implores us to be vigilant to watch over our hearts; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip because they influence everything else in your life.
Misinformation, conspiracy theories, and personal beliefs spurred people to storm the U. S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, highlighting the disastrous effects such theories can have without proof. A conspiracy theory – an explanation for events that rely on the assertion that powerful people are dishonestly manipulating society. As humans we tend to believe what satisfies our preconceptions, whether true or false. Isaiah 8:12 has this to say about conspiracy theories, “Don’t call for an alliance, like all the rest of this people do. Don’t fear what they fear, or dread what they dread.” This is a time in which we must discern what’s true from what’s false.
Scripture reveals that life and death are in the power of the tongue (Prov. 18:21). We must be mindful of the words we speak and the impact they can have on others. Jesus taught that what comes out of our mouths is a reflection of what’s in our hearts in abundance. (Luke 6:45; Matt.12:34)
Conspiracy theories, negative rhetoric and verbal assaults serve no purpose other than to stoke the embers of a potential fire. “And the tongue is a fire, the very world of unrighteousness; the tongue is set among our body’s parts as that which defiles the whole body and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell (James 3:6). The Message Bible renders it this way, “It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell. his is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!”
Proverbs 12:18, reveals the danger and negative impact of speaking reckless words. “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
Thoughtless words have no place in God’s Kingdom, nor do the yield the fruit of righteousness. “The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest” (Isa. 32:17).
The Church or Ekklesia is called to embody the Lordship of Jesus Christ, not just in word, but in deed also.
Notes: All Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible unless otherwise noted.