The last month had a whirlwind of events. Yet for me, one particular two week period stands out the most. I recall where I was sitting when I received the text about a friend we have known over 20 years. As I read the words, “he has passed on,” my own breath caught in my throat. It hit me like a weight. Not only was this servant of God gone, but one of my closest friends was now walking through the valley of grief.
Six days later, my morning started with a video call from Canada. My fifth grandchild was being born. My heart was ecstatic, anxiously awaiting to see what this little man would look like and praying all would go well as he was being birthed. Little Mateo was born without incident and I was thrilled to see his little face over the phone.
The next couple of days, I stood beside a grieving family, prayed for another family with a dad in critical condition, and kept seeing the face of a beautiful little boy in Canada. One day I was driving down the road contemplating events from the two week span. Two words kept repeating in my mind – Life and Death.
Life and Death. Two events we all experience. Polar opposite in meaning and emotions. The words continued to repeat. Life and Death.
As the words repeated, I again felt the power of emotions from the two weeks. Polar opposites. But I felt both emotions strongly when they hit. Reflecting on this, God reminded me of Psalms 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
The same day I watched a couple beam with joy as they held their newborn son, I watched my friend almost uncontrollably shake and cry with the pain of loss of her dad. Both were very real and strong. Both were emotions that can be felt by others just through the words we speak.
Could my words really cause someone to be as hurt as my friend was? Could they bring such joy as holding a newborn baby? The truth of that helps me to understand why God stresses that we be slow to speak. He wants us to speak life.
“There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health.” Proverbs 12:18
Words can be like a sword, they can cut someone down or be used to defend. They can also be like a warm blanket on a cold winter’s night, enveloping us with comfort and healing. It’s up to us to choose how we will ‘wield’ our words – like a piercing sword or like a soft blanket. For me, I want to choose healthy words. I want to lean into the Spirit’s whisper before I speak so I can speak with His wisdom guiding me.
Let’s choose healthy words today and birth new life in those around us.