There is much in the Bible about the power of the tongue. Indeed James writes a whole chapter on it (chapter 3, and in the Proverbs there are many wise words about the effect that our words can have on other people, and ourselves, for good or ill. ‘Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it (for death or life)’ (Proverbs 18: 21).
When we speak we can bless people with kind words or we can curse them with bitter words. So many people who come to us for help have been cursed by their parents as little children. Parents have said things like, “You are a waste of space”, “You’re totally stupid,” “You’re so ugly you’ll never get married,” “You should have been a boy” (to a girl, and vice versa to a boy), and perhaps worst of all, “I wish you’d never been born.”
These words can have a devastating effect on us because they have been spoken by someone in authority over us and, if they keep being repeated, we begin to believe them. Over time we can change the “you” to “I” and make the curses personal: “I’m a waste of space”, “I wish I’d never been born” and so on.
Satan loves it when we do that as he can then ride in on our curses and begin his destructive work in us, often by bringing sicknesses which affect our bodies. Another Proverb, ‘A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones’, shows how our bodies can be affected by our attitudes. Again, there are a number of Proverbs which talk about the relationship between our demeanour and bodily health, (e.g. Proverbs 15: 13 and 18: 14), and our demeanour is easily affected by words. If we have been put down constantly by those around us our spirits break, or are crushed, and we find it hard to sustain life and energy. We are also quite good at putting ourselves down. Do you ever catch yourself saying that you are useless, no good or helpless?
What is the remedy? To forgive those who have spoken against us and to begin to believe the truth about us as God sees us. To Him we are incredibly precious. He rejoices over us with singing (Zephaniah 3: 13). He was pleased with His creation of us. Once He had made man and woman ‘He saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good (suitable, pleasant) and He approved it completely’ (Genesis 1: 31). It is often hard work changing beliefs about ourselves, but with sustained effort we can gradually ‘change the tape’ that is running in our heads. God approves of you completely! Believe it!
Prayer: Dear Father, I understand how powerful the words I speak are, and I understand how the words spoken over me have wounded me. Please forgive me for the wounds I have inflicted on others, and please help me to forgive those who have wounded me (name those people specifically). I release each of them into the freedom of my forgiveness. I ask for Your help to change the negative things I think about myself. Please also help me to put a guard on my own tongue so that I may use it to bless others, and myself. rather than to curse. Thank You, Father, that You love me so much. Amen.
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