The words of the wicked kill; the speech of the upright saves. The gossip of bad people gets them in trouble; the conversation of good people keeps them out of it. Well-spoken words bring satisfaction; well-done work has its own reward. Truthful witness by a good person clears the air, but liars lay down a smoke screen of deceit. Rash language cuts and maims, but there is healing in the words of the wise. -Proverbs 12:6,13-14,17-18
The stark contrasts in these verses bring to light the struggles that we have in life. Are we people who speak life or death? Do our words cut and maim or do they heal? These verses remind me that James writes in his epistle:
"A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it! 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!"James writes these verses to believers who (he knows this from his own experiences) struggle with the things that they say. James knows that once something is spoken it can never be taken back. He understands, like Solomon, that wisdom is never found in a rash cutting response. I have found that to be true in my life as well.
These words challenge me today to listen more than I speak ... to think before I spout foolish words ... to consider if my words will heal or maim the one listening to what I say. Life or death? The choice is ours. Speak life.
Forgive me for the hurtful ways that I have spoken Lord. Help my words to bless and not curse today.