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Choose Your Words Wisely

Proverbs 18:21 states: "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits." What this proverb says and suggests is that words matter. What we say, how we say it, why we say it, and who we say things to matters. Eugene Peterson paraphrases it this: "Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit – you choose (The Message)." So, let me ask, how careful and cautious are you with your words? Why is this important? Because what you say either helps or hurts, it either blesses or bruises. What we say, how we say it, why we say it, and who we say things to matters.

"By faith, Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau (Hebrews 11:20 ESV)."The narrative in Genesis 27 assumes and affirms that spoken words shape human life. Language is not simply an exercise in propaganda and manipulation (as it tends to be in our modern world). Words here are not a matter of indifference which may be attended to or not, as is convenient. Here, when words are spoken by authoritative persons in proper contexts, they have a substance. They mean what they say. They must be handled with respect, for they are means toward life or death (cf. James 3:10). Though specifically, this verse addresses how godly fathers bless their children with appropriate words, in a broader context, this verse challenges each of us to be careful and cautious of the words we choose because words have consequences.

The Bible speaks to this matter . . .

Proverbs 11:9 “Evil words destroy one’s friends; wise discernment rescues the godly.”

Proverbs 11:12 “It is foolish to belittle a neighbor; a person with good sense remains silent.”

Proverbs 11:17 “Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel.”

Proverbs 15: 1 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but hard words stir up anger.”

Proverbs 15:4 “Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”

Proverbs 16:24 “Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”

Proverbs 18:20 “Words satisfy the soul as food satisfies the stomach; the right words on a person’s lips bring satisfaction.”

Proverbs 20:15 “Wise speech is rarer and more valuable than gold and rubies.”

Regardless of the difficult and challenging circumstances surrounding Isaac, Rebekah, Esau and Jacob, the writer of Hebrews is not consumed with the disgust and disorder within this household. The Hebrew writer is consumed with what was right. Isaac has a blessing for his sons. What are you speaking over the lives of those connected to you?

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