“Let a rotten saying not proceed out of your mouth, but whatever saying is good for building up.Â” (EPHESIANS 4:29) ~ ? ?
WHY WE NEED TO GUARD OUR SPEECH
One important reason to guard our speech is that words have power. Proverbs 15:4 says: Â“The calmness of the tongue is a tree of life, but distortion in it means a breaking down in the spirit.Â”
Even as water revives a thirsty tree, so the calm speech of a soothing tongue can refresh the spirit of those hearing it.Â
In contrast, the twisted words of a perverse tongue can crush the spirit of others. Indeed, the words we speak have the power to injure or to heal. (Proverbs 18:21)
Vividly describing the power of words, another proverb says: Â“There exists the one speaking thoughtlessly as with the stabs of a sword.Â” (Proverbs 12:18)Â
Thoughtless words said in haste can cause deep emotional wounds and destroy relationships. Has your heart ever been pierced by the thrusts of a verbal sword?Â
On the positive side, the same proverb says: Â“The tongue of the wise ones is a healing.Â” Thoughtful words from one who manifests godly wisdom can mend an aching heart and restore relationships. Can you recall an occasion when you experienced the healing power of kind words? (Proverbs 16:24)Â
Recognizing that spoken words have power, we certainly want to use our speech to heal others, not to hurt them.
No matter how hard we try, we cannot completely control our tongue. Here, then, is a second reason why we need to keep on guard respecting our speech: Sin and imperfection incline us toward misusing our tongue. Words are a product of our heart, and Â“the inclination of the heart of man is bad.Â” (Genesis 8:21; Luke 6:45) Bridling our tongue is therefore a real struggle. (James 3:2-4)Â
Although we cannot gain perfect control of our tongue, we can keep working at making improvement in how we use it. Just as a swimmer trying to swim upstream has to keep fighting the current, so we have to keep fighting the sinful tendency to misuse our tongue.
A reason to guard our speech is that Jehovah holds us accountable for our words. The way we use our tongue affects not only our relationship with fellow humans but also our standing with Jehovah. James 1:26 says: Â“If any man seems to himself to be a formal worshiper and yet does not bridle his tongue, but goes on deceiving his own heart, this manÂ’s form of worship is futile.Â”
If our tongue is unbridledÂ—spewing out hurtful, poisonous speechÂ—all of our Christian works could be rendered worthless in GodÂ’s eyes.Â