Death and Life Are in the Power of the Tongue

Death and Life Are in the Power of the Tongue

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” This verse is from Proverbs 18:21, and it’s a scripture that is known by Christians all over the world. But what does it mean and how can you apply it in your life? And how should you use this power?

Let’s take a deeper look n what this proverb is saying and what it means

What Does it Mean?

When the Bible verse talks about the “tongue,” it talks about the spoken word. Words are containers of power that cause a great impact in our lives.

Pleasant words can heal; they can save, but evil words can also destroy and kill. This proverb is a powerful reminder of how much strength and destruction our tongue has in reality and how we must use it as Christians to help and uplift, rather than break and destroy.

Words have the power to bring life and death, and we will discuss how it impacts people’s lives, and what you must do to make sure you harness their true power with faith.

There are 3 ways in which our tongue causes an impact in our lives, and these are physical effects, emotional, and spiritual.

When the tongue brings life, it can encourage, support, guide, uplift, educate, comfort, love, and all the good things that words can do. Comfort and hope can come from a counseling session, saving a suicidal life; love can come in romantic words, and soothing words can calm a crying child.

But, when it comes to the negative effects of the tongue, it can bring destruction and death.

The negative words that come from a judge or jury can put a defendant on death row, and angry words spoken can cause one to be violent and aggressive, and in many cases, can cause a person to commit murder.

As mentioned earlier, the emotional impact of the tongue can soothe, comfort, uplift, and save someone who is emotionally distressed.

What we say to people can have a profound impact on other people’s hearts. Proverbs 15:4 states that a soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a pervasive tongue crushes the spirit.

In Proverbs 12:18, it states that some words can wound but when used wisely, can also heal.

The spiritual impact of the tongue affects our hearts as Christians. In fact, words are treated as on par with actions for displaying sinful hearts according to Isaiah.

A tongue that’s under control is a mark of the Holy Spirit’s power and apart from accepting Jesus’ atonement on the cross, Christians will be judged according to our words.

This can be seen in the verse Matthew 12:37, which states: “For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words, you will be condemned.”

Death and Life Are in the Power of the Tongue

How Do We Apply This Meaning To Our Lives?

The tongue can be used as a tool to build and heal but it can also be used as a weapon to harm and destroy, which means we must be careful and wary when we choose to speak to others.

When you’re about to say something to someone, ask yourself these questions:

Ask yourself if you are giving life to the person you’re talking to. Are you building that person, healing them, giving them encouragement, or are you promoting growth?

Ephesians 4:2 teaches us that we must not let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouths. We must, however, use it to build others according to their needs, especially if thy words will benefit those who will listen.

When you speak, you must be sure that you are speaking compliments, words of affirmation, and determine whether or not your spoken word strengthens people’s positive traits.

God’s Word builds us up by telling us who we are in Christ and how to live victoriously.

You must always speak with love, kindness, comfort, calmness, and goodness. When you utter words, it must also be to uplift, praise, and help the person you’re talking to.

Always question the intent of your negative words, especially when you are in an argument, conflict, or your negative emotions are being triggered by someone.

Pleasant words reflect God’s nature. You may be angry at someone and that person may be causing stress and pain to you, but you can still talk to that person in loving ways.

Love is the perfect regulator of a man’s mouth, and you must always ask yourself if your words are in line with God’s word before you speak them to another person.

Critical words judge and find fault. It is tearing down a person, beating them up, and focusing on defects and inadequacies you believe that person has. If you think you are about to criticize someone, stop and reflect on whether or not you should.

Death doesn’t just mean physical death but also emotional and psychological death.

When you constantly ridicule, insult, disrespect, put people down, it causes death to their confidence and self-esteem. It causes the destruction of the soul, taking away the person’s spirit and leaving behind a dark and shallow soul that is broken.

In reality, evil words can also cause literal death to people. When you speak unkind, angry, and insulting words, it can hurt the person so much that he or she wishes death upon you, and can even act out this violence and thus, causing physical assault and murder.

How Should We Use This Power of the Tongue?

Here are some ways that you can choose to harness the power of your tongue:

1. Speak Slowly and Deliberately

James 1:1-21 states, “My dear brother and sisters, take one of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you which can save you.”

By speaking slowly and deliberately, you can think about what you say before it comes out of your mouth. It is a powerful weapon, the tongue, and we must use it with wisdom. The more you understand the power of your words the more careful you will be to use them.

2. Speak the Truth

Sometimes the truth can hurt, but when we speak to others, we must always speak with honesty. If you think the truth will be poorly received, you can still speak it in good faith, but you must communicate it with love.

3. Speak with Kindness

Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

When you speak, whether it is to tell someone how much they hurt you, or to lift them up when they are in distress, always speak with kindness, and speak graciously.

When emotions get the better of you, hold your tongue and speak slowly and refrain from cursing. Always be kind and even if your thoughts are saying otherwise, always believe that kindness is the true teaching of God.


God made humans be able to communicate and express their feelings. While we can express our thoughts, we are also commanded by God to control our tongues.

It is a powerful weapon that we can use to bring life or death to other people, and as Christians, we must continue to honor God by speaking slowly, truthfully, and speaking gracefully.

The proverb is a simple reminder that words matter and your mouth has the ability to build others up or tear them down. And always, choose to honor God and speak blessings when you use your tongue.

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