Our Words Can Harm or Heal (Guest Post)

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“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” ~ Proverbs 12:18

Each day for my quiet time this year, I’ve read a different chapter of Proverbs.  I noticed a frequent topic: how we express our words.

While styles, methods and technologies for communicating have changed considerably from the days of papyrus and clay tablets, many communication principles are unaltered. In this digital age we can learn a thing or two from Solomon and his peers. Here’s a small sample from Proverbs about the ability of our words to harm or heal:

Proverbs 10:21 The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of sense.

Proverbs 11:9 With their mouths the godless destroy their neighbors, but through knowledge the righteous escape.

Proverbs 13:3 Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.

Proverbs 14:25 A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is deceitful.

Proverbs 15:4 The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.

Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

In this age of instant – well almost anything is instant it seems – it’s so easy to type out a response to a post we take issue with and, unless we are thoughtful, we may do a lot of damage.

I believe, as Christ-followers, you, like me, want to be a source of healing in our culture. I do want to be provocative, in the best sense of the word, and challenge positions and assumptions. We  can’t control that the gospel will be an offense to some; however, we can control our heart attitude and the words we use.

Let’s follow the wisdom of Solomon and choose our words wisely so we can bring healing and hope to our audience. Before you type out an instant reply to something, ask yourself whether or not your words could bring healing or harm. Some questions I ask before I post are:

  • How might my post be misunderstood?
  • Am I writing out of an attitude of love?
  • Will my words bring insult or ire?

What questions do you ask before you post a reply in social media? Click to Tweet.


Guest Post by Michael Anderson

Michael and his wife, Lisa, have served with Cru for 26 years. They have 4 kids and live in Indiana. Michael has degrees in Electrical Engineering, Communication Science and recently completed a master’s in Leadership and Communication.

Follow Michael on his blog, Sojourn with Me and on Twitter at @kicktheball.

This post is in a series on the book of Proverbs.

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