Looks Don’t Kill, Words Do – Proverbs 18:21

I had a nightmare about how my mocking destroyed my friend, and the image of her suffering is with me to this day. It opened my eyes at a young age to the power of words.

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“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21 NIV).

In first grade my best friend was an eight-inch Betsy McCall doll. She had dark hair like mine, and a cute little outfit consisting of a pinafore over cropped pants. Her most remarkable feature, however, was her jointed knees which enabled her to sit naturally. I liked positioning her on the edge of my dresser as I got ready for school, where she could admire everything I did.

In my dream she is perched in her place, her head tilted, as usual. She looks at me sweetly, but I am making fun of the hinges in her knees. I laugh at her, telling her she’s ugly, and she slumps and caves into herself, right before my eyes. She keeps her sweet expression, but the damage is done.

Exercising the power of life in my words

This week I am making headway repairing cracks I caused in a relationship because of something I said years ago. The damage only recently came to my attention, and thankfully, understanding followed. Jesus made it clear I am to love my neighbor like I love myself so my efforts to mend the relationship are entirely worthwhile.

The Amplified Version says,

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words” (Proverbs 18:21 AMP).

I’m looking forward to enjoying the fruit of gracious words.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis