We often misunderstand Proverbs 18:21, which says “the tongue has power over life and death” (NIV).
We take it to mean that words can either build people up or tear them down. Which is true. But there’s more to the story: Our words powerfully affect ourselves, too, not just others.
Our lives and deaths are defined in large part by the words we speak.
When others regard your life, will they consider you an encourager or a liar?
When they hear you’ve died, will they deem your life to have been well-spent proclaiming the good news of Christ to others, or wasted boasting about accomplishments that died with you?
When Christ judges your faith and works, will the words you spoke identify you as a child of God?
Look at it another way: Would Christ’s ministry have been impactful if he’d uttered even one obscenity to his disciples? If he’d gossiped? Or told just one lie?
Your tongue is a powerful weapon. Remember that it cuts both ways.