I was reading in Proverbs 18 today, and this passage stood out to me:
20 A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth;
From the produce of his lips he shall be filled.
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.
I was thinking about this study that I had read a few months ago, that compared strong marriages and failed marriages. The strong and failed marriages went across all income levels. Strong marriages did not have less trouble or crises than failed marriages, nor were partners in strong marriages better human beings than the partners in failed marriages. The difference was, partners in successful marriages overlooked faults, extended patience and forgiveness, and in general concentrated on the good in each other instead of the bad in each other. While failed marriages did just the opposite: couldn’t let go of faults, focused on problems, and were negative about each other.
This wisdom was in the Bible long before man did a study, and Proverbs 18:20-21 is where you find it. Think of it this way: what we say with our mouths has an effect, words are not meaningless. God used words to create the universe and everything in it. And then He made us in His image. That means, we create life for ourselves or death for ourselves by the words of our mouth.
With our mouth, we can express thankfulness to our God every day, we can bless our family and edify our household, choosing by love to cover over, to overlook transgressions, and the fruit of that thanksgiving and that blessing and that edification will be life. Or, with our mouth, we can express complaints to our God every day, we can criticize our family and tear down our household, choosing with bitterness and resentment to dwell on transgressions and problems, and the fruit of that complaining and that criticizing and that cursing will be death.