As a kid I heard the saying – “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”.  How untrue that is.  It’s not secret that words are powerful.  Ask anyone who’s ever dealt with verbal abuse from a parent, spouse or boss.  The words and phrases spew out of their mouths leave hurts just as much as physical wounds.  Words spoken this way are curses cast upon us.  I am reminded of the Proverbs 21:23Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. Yet how many times have I been guilty of this.  So many times I wish I could go back and take back what I said to someone.  Unfortunately once it’s spoken it can never be taken back.

We are told in Proverbs 18:8 – The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts.  Gossip seems to be something everyone wants to get in on or hear.  Unfortunately, gossip and bad mouthing are never meant to build a person up.  In fact they seek to bring a person down and point out the person is flawed and somehow less than others.  Those talking ill about someone else make them appear as though they either have a really boring life or they have everything together.   It has been my experience we are all aware of our flaws.  When someone makes the choice to talk badly about us, put us down or point out our mistakes it solidifies what we already know about ourselves.  We are told in Matthew 15:10-11And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.  There is nothing about gossiping or bad mouthing others that does any good.  And yet so many people are happy to do this daily and make it a continual part of their lives.

When we talk about ourselves, we use degrading phrases like “I’m an idiot, I’m stupid, and I’m worthless.”  These are things I’ve said and I hear people every day say about themselves.   When we make a mistake, mess up or fall on our face we have a habit of talking badly about ourselves.  Everyone seems to be ok with degrading themselves and making these comments.  Its second nature and we now are less than God created us.  By our own words we have spoken curses upon ourselves.  In James 3:6-8 we get a very clear picture of just how bad it is.  And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.


What if we shifted our outlook?  Take it upon yourself to start complimenting and building others up.  Begin looking for something good about the person and state it.  Better yet, publically state what’s good about them.  What if when we make a mistake we evaluate it, learn from it and move on, but negate all the bad self talk.  What if we choose our words carefully in talking with others?  We make statements and comments that are genuine, sincere and when we leave lift the person’s spirits in a way that it wasn’t before we engaged with them.  The following verses have always been good reminders for me in regards to this.

Colossians 4:66 – Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Psalm 19:14 – Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

 Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.

In the end we will stand accountable to God.  Matthew 12:36-37 is a good reminder of this – I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.  We all the gift of edification within us, but it must be practiced.  How good would it feel to start each day by being told something good, positive and uplifting?  I have tried very hard to make this become a daily habit.  You’d be surprised at how it will change your own spirit by building others up, if you doubt – go and give it at try.

What verses convict you in how you speak?

  1. jelillie says:

    This is really good! I am being schooled about my words as it relates to negative self-speak! Thanks for this confirmation!

  2. Paul S says:

    I’ve just got to throw this in here, Chris. The 6th chapter of Kenny Luck’s recent study, “Temptaion” is about Verbal Integrity and using our voices to build, not to destroy. While it is about how our words affect others, the idea is the same. I recommend the study to any group of men looking for a new study that will push you deeper.

  3. Kevin says:

    Well spoken. It is something that needs to be done, watching our words to others and ourselves.

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