The Bible says there is life or death in the tongue. Let’s make sure our words offer life to those we speak to.
ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES by Sally Bair
Remember the old Holsum bread? In 1908 it became the first packaged and sliced bread on the market. Housewives found it popular for its ease in feeding their children. According to critics, however, the Holsum brand, still on the market today, should be avoided because of its high salt content and unhealthy additives. Compared to some of the whole grain, homemade varieties, it is a bread without substance.
Using a play on words, wholesome pursuits also may be without substance—at least in the spiritual context. We’re faced with the choice of many unwholesome pursuits. We read about them and see them displayed on TV and electronic devices.
Also, the words we speak may be without substance. The Bible talks about using wholesome words. “If anyone teaches otherwise [other than God’s truth], and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.” (1 Timothy 6:3-6)
Paul told Timothy to be aware of the false teaching within the Christian church, made evident by the words of men more interested in debate and argument than in putting the truth into practice. Their words had no substance. We too hear words without substance every day. Quarrels, complaints, bullying and other negative words fill the air around us. God wants His followers to use words that build up rather than tear down. The words we speak can have great impact on the lives of others.
“A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:4) Verse 1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Who among us wants to hear harsh, hurtful words? Therefore, why would we use harsh, hurtful words—words without substance—when speaking to anyone else?
When Jesus’ teachings caused many to disagree with Him and turn away, He asked His disciples if they also wanted to leave Him. Peter answered, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)
Lord, thank You for Your wholesome words of life. Cause us to turn away from any unwholesome pursuits and any words that cause strife—or that have no substance. In Jesus’ name, amen.