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A Matter of Life and Death

Thursday - February 11th

Devotionals from the Book of James

Scripture to Read Today: James 3:1-12

The tongue has the power of life and death.

-Proverbs 18:21



There have been times in my life where a family member or close friend says something to me that pierces deep inside. While I know it is an emotional pain I feel, it feels so physical. It feels like a sharp pain in my chest. It seems like I should see a medical doctor, but I know it is an emotional wound.


Maybe you know what that pain feels like. Your spouse said something to you in anger they have never said before, and it cut deep. Perhaps they said something hurtful to you, and they have said it many times before. Just because you heard it before doesn't mean it won't feel like a fresh, gaping wound now. Words have power. But they seem so insignificant.


An old Japanese proverb says, "The tongue is but three inches long, yet it can kill a person six feet high." Such a minor, seemingly harmless part of the body, yet it can do severe damage.


Words hurt - especially the words spoken to us by those we love the most. A father's stern or harsh word leaves his son or daughter scarred for life. Things said in the heat of an argument can be the catalyst for a divorce. A fiery discussion full of insults between business partners can bring a decades-old partnership to an end in a matter of minutes. Families, corporations, and churches have all fallen prey to the ferociousness of death words.


You may remember words that left you wounded, but do you remember when your comments did the damage. Maybe you need to apologize to your son or daughter for what you said decades ago that inflicted a wound they still grapple with today. Perhaps you have a business associate that still struggles with what you said in the heat of a moment. Now would be the time to reach out and share a heartfelt apology for the damage your tongue has done.


According to Proverbs 18:21, The tongue has the power of life and death. How are you using yours?

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