The Tongue.

August 13, 2008

“… To lift the weary with a word.”

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue …” Proverbs 18:21a

“Let the words of my mouth & the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

Cindy Patten was Session #3’s speaker, and she addressed the topic of “The Tongue: Slice, Dice or Be Nice.” I appreciated this message more after the conference, especially once I went back home. I definitely “slice” and “dice” with my words more at home than anywhere else — or, as Proverbs would say, my words are too often like the thrusts of a sword rather than like a balm.

Cindy reminded us of Barnabas (“son of encouragement”), the nickname given to Joseph by the apostles because of his encouraging words. Acts 11:23-24 says, “… He exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.” I’m so thankful she read that passage to us, because it revealed the heart behind his words. As a result of being a good man — good because he was “full of the Holy Spirit and of faith” — his words, his exhortations, were also good. They were words full of heart … a Christ-loving heart.

After pointing to the example of Barnabas, Cindy asked us, “Are you a Barnabas, one who uses her words to lift & to encourage?” I think this must’ve been the point at which every woman bowed her head in conviction … or maybe I should just speak for myself. :] She followed up this question with an even more piercing reminder — that “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21).

She gave six categories of words that God wants us to use (snippets from her notes):

1. Words of Affirmation (Praise)
Romans 14:19 – Seek the things that make for building up.
Proverbs 16:24 – Kind words are like honey.

2. Words of Comfort
(God’s Word, words of compassion, words of love)
Proverbs 12:18 – The words of the wise soothe and heal.
Proverbs 12:25 – A good words make the weighed down, anxious heart glad.

3. Words of Concern
(1) Concern — implanted by the Spirit.
(2) Curiosity — make the world bigger than you (don’t be self-absorbed).
Proverbs 20:5 – A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water, but a man of understanding draws it out.
Philippians 2:3-4 – Not seeking your own interest but those of others.

4. Words of Motivation
(Be an enabler by your words. Come alongside; inspire.)
Isaiah 41:6-7 – Each one encourages his neighbor and says, “Be strong! … It is good.”
I Thessalonians 5:4 – Admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient …

5. Words of Joy
(We’re naturally moaners & groaners.)
Psalm 40:3 – His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

6. Words of Wisdom
Proverbs 15:7 – The lips of the wise spread knowledge.
Ezra 7:10 – Ezra had set his heart to study the word, practice it (obey & live by it), & teach it.

My friend and I joked about how girls have to set aside a few hours for each other (if not more!) if they want to “meet up” or “catch up”, but guys can do all of that in just an hour or less … or so it seems. But the point is, we women (generally speaking) are talkers. I’d be scared to actually count how many things I say in one day … let alone how many of them are actually loving, encouraging words for building up rather than for tearing down.

But let’s apply. Let’s be like the Proverbs 31 woman who “opens her mouth with wisdom” and on whose tongue is “the teaching of kindness”!


3 Responses to “The Tongue.”

  1. marlajayne Says:

    Nice reminder. I’ve often thought of how often the “tongue” and words themselves (a soft answer, etc.) are mentioned in the Bible.

  2. garnet Says:

    tia we can’t all be proverbs 31 women like you.

    : )
    thanks for the notes

  3. tia Says:

    g: try more like proverbs -31 woman — haha.

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