The Scriptures have a lot to say about the stewardship of our words and yet it is staggering how carelessly and thoughtlessly we waste them. Worse, we hurtfully stab at others with bloodthirsty, dagger-like words. No doubt we have all at one point or another felt the sting of such rapier like words and truthfully have each inflicted our fair share of wounds. Sometimes these cutting words come from our spouse, our children, our family (maybe you are still licking your wounds from some hurtful things said while with family over the Holidays or sharpening your sword for the next round?) or even from those whom we count as our dearest and closest friends. In Psalm 55:20-21 David speaks of the deceitfulness of his former friends treachery, “My companion attacks his friends; he violates his covenant. His speech is as butter, yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords.” David was no stranger to the cleaving nature of words. Notice again those final words, “his words…are drawn swords.” And whose words were these? Words from some random, anonymous, faceless commenter on a blog? Words from a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend on Facebook? No! He calls him “my companion” of a “covenant” nature!
Psalm 55 is not the only place where David uses this imagery of “swords” for words. Note the following:
- Psalm 57:4 – “I am in the midst of lions; I lie among ravenous beasts – men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords.”
- Psalm 59:7 – “See what they spew from their mouths – they spew out swords from their lips, and they say, ‘Who can hear us?’”
- Psalm 64:3 – “They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their words like deadly arrows.”
Proverbs also uses the analogy of swords:
- Proverbs 12:18 – “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
- Proverbs 25:18 – “Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow is the man who gives false testimony against his neighbor.”
Mark well the potential harm and pain and hurt that reckless words can cause and ask God to train your heart and tongue in gospel-speak!
In the following days, using the Psalms referenced above, I will provide some further thoughts on how we should use our tongues and what God thinks about how we use our mouths.
In the meantime, what are some other Bible passages that come to your mind about the stewardship of the tongue?