"Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof."
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue:”
The worst evil—death, or the highest good—life, are the results of how a man’s tongue is motivated to speak. The tongue can seal a man’s fate or bring about his salvation. The tongue is powerful!
“Many a one has been his own death by a foul tongue, or the death of others by a false tongue; and, on the contrary, many a one has saved his own life, or procured the comfort of it, by a prudent gentle tongue, and saved the lives of others by a seasonable testimony or intercession for them”1 (Henry).
The Bible has many examples of men’s lives that were saved or lost because of their words. Here are a few.
The evil report from the 10 bad spies of Israel killed them.
“And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land, Even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the LORD” (Numbers 14:36-37).
Ananias lied to the Lord and the church and forfeited his life. His wife Sapphira lied as well, and she died.
“And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things” (Acts 5:5).
“Then fell she [Sapphira] down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband” (Acts 5:10).
The Philippian jailer almost committed suicide when the earthquake opened the prison. Paul’s quick words spared his life, and his evangelism saved his soul.
“And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:30-31).
Come back tomorrow, and we will see how the words of the Gospel give life or condemn.
1. Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, the electronic version in eSword.