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A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:1
(NIV)

That was the title and verse from a recent Proverbs 31 devotional by Lysa TerKeurst that I got in my e-mail.  It came at the most needed of times. 

I have begun to realize what Paul meant in Colossians 3:22-24:

22Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

I find myself being more careful to guard my tongue, because I have seen “Christians” rip people to shreds for no reason whatsoever.  James 3 goes into great detail as to why Christians should watch what they say.  Harsh words shouldn’t be tossed about so lightly.  Not only can they destroy the respect someone has for you, they can destroy a part of the person on the receiving end.  And they can destroy your testimony if witnessed by a non-Christian.

Proverbs 10:19-20 (New International Version)

   19 When words are many, sin is not absent,
       but he who holds his tongue is wise.

 20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver,
       but the heart of the wicked is of little value. 

Proverbs 11:11-12 (New International Version)

  11 Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted,
       but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed.

 12 A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor,
       but a man of understanding holds his tongue.

Proverbs 12:18 (New International Version)

  18 Reckless words pierce like a sword,
       but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 15:4 (New International Version)

  4 The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life,
       but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.

Proverbs 17:27-28 (New International Version)

  27 A man of knowledge uses words with restraint,
       and a man of understanding is even-tempered.

 28 Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent,
       and discerning if he holds his tongue.

Proverbs 18:20-21 (New International Version)

  20 From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is filled;
       with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied.

 21 The tongue has the power of life and death,
       and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Proverbs 21:23 (New International Version)

  23 He who guards his mouth and his tongue
       keeps himself from calamity.

 

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