Why do we treat guns like that? Because they are powerful weapons. Accidental discharges harm many people each year.
But, did you know that there is an emotional and spiritual equivalent that is often treated with the same foolish attitude as leaving a loaded pistol on your kitchen counter?
This emotional and spiritual weapon is the tongue.
Proverbs 18:21 says, The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
There are dozens of verses echoing the same thought, but I have always loved the clarity of this verse. No punches are pulled. The tongue has the power of life and death.
You see, for a portion of my life I thought this was more of an abstract illustration. I assumed it was stated with such emphasis merely to get a point across regarding the impact of our speech. I decided that our speech surely couldn’t cause death or bring life directly.
I have since changed my view.
One day I will post the full story, but I had a very real and powerful experience with watching my words negatively affect my health and watching my confession open the door for a healing experience.
My very strong verbal statements about my health and wellness affected my body in a very real way, opening up the door for a spiritual attack.
While I could focus on this aspect of our “life and death” speech. I want rather to address how our choice to speak life or death affects those around us. Do you respond quickly and foolishly when speaking to an emotional situation? Have you left your rifle of speech sitting out in the open with complete disregard for safe use?
If you are a professing Christian you have a profound call and anointing on your life to speak life and love over others. This may be controversial, but I believe you also have more power in your speech because you are not neutral to things of the spirit world. You have accepted Christ and have his very spirit resting in you. Your speech will have the power of Holy Spirit behind it when it is God-led, and your speech will be ripe for destruction when you choose to partner with any other spirit.
The old saying goes, “if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all”. This little saying has hit the nail on the head. But, that is merely the surface level understanding of the damage negative words can do. What about the power of the positive?
How about, rather than that little saying we tell ourselves, “If you can’t say anything nice, say something nice anyway”. Simple right?!
It actually is very simple. You have the domain over your speech when you accept Christ. He died to restore everything, including your speech.
If you see a negative situation, one that stirs up any sort of sinful thought, that is actually a very good litmus test. It is indicative of the fact that evil spiritual forces are out to lie, steal and destroy. When this sinful thought is directed towards another person, you know that Satan is doing what he most revels in doing… he is destroying connection… he is seeding bitterness… he is weeding out love and grace in a relationship.
If every time you feel anger towards another person rise up inside of you and your choose not to speak that out loud, but rather grab ahold of that emotion, turn it upside down, and speak the truth, how do you think your life and relationships might change?
It is learning the proper use of your tool. In one regard a gun can be a source of provision for food, in another it can be a weapon that utterly destroys. We take classes to learn to handle guns, buy cases to house guns, have a specific set of instructions to follow before discharging our gun. Speech is your spiritual gun.
Consider the following:
When my husband is watching the kids while I work and I come home to a destroyed house it is easy for my ire to be stirred. But, while my initial (if you haven’t practiced a better way) instinct may be to storm in the bedroom and read him the riot act, that will only serve to distance us and won’t change anything anyway. Instead, I exert my power of will over the situation and I follow my order of operation with my weapon of speech, zeroing in on the correct enemy. I take that emotion, acknowledge it, recognize the evil at work behind it and address it the following way:
“Lord, I am feeling _____ (insert emotion here) angry____ with my husband. I feel disregarded and unimportant to him. I turn this emotion over to you and ask for peace and satisfaction to fill that place. My husband is _______ (insert any and every positive thing you know about your significant other) servant hearted and kind. His heart is to bless me and I will communicate my heart desires and needs calmly and peacefully.”
So, does that seem unrealistic? Why should it? If I retrain myself to withhold words of death and destruction, not to ignore them, but to acknowledge them and release them and request what I need instead, I am speaking life over my situation.
Remembering the power of the tongue and zeroing in on my target before discharging my weapon will help to ensure the right person, or spirit, is in the crosshairs.