“Gentle words cause life and health.” Pr 15:4 TLB

James writes, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless” (Jas 1:26 NIV). The poet wrote, “Oh I say the things that I never should, just want to be heard or I never would. Talk on and on and know it’s wrong; the trouble is, my tongue’s too long.” So how can you control your tongue’s negative propensity? Engage it positively. How? (1) Be an encourager! “Gentle words cause life and health.” Your words can help a hopeless person keep on living and motivate a sick loved one to fight illness and become whole. Encouragers are God’s frontline against defeat, despair and depression! (2) Speak the truth in love. Saying what needs to be heard is often hard, but being a friend requires saying difficult things. “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy” (Pr 27:6 NLT). Truth spoken in love can release people from their delusions, misperceptions and inflexibility to live free, productive lives. (See Jn 8:32). (3) Ask God for the right words. “The lips of the righteous bring forth what is acceptable” (Pr 10:32 NAS). How do you know what words the hearer will accept? Let God be your guide. (4) Make your words life-giving. “The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death” (Pr 13:14 NIV). The people you meet need words that turn them from spiritual death to eternal life. So today, speak words of life and health.