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Life and Death are in the Power of the Tongue

(206)

Sermon shared by Neal Gracey

March 2003
Summary: Scripture and illustrations showing the danger of the human tongue.
Tags: Wisdom (add tag)
Denomination: Baptist
Audience: General adults
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Sermon:
PROVERBS 18:19-21 Life and Death are in the Power of the Tongue

18:19 A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.
18:20 A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.
18:21 Death and Life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

GREEK PHILOSOPHER: Greek Philosopher asked his servant to provide the best dish possible. The servant prepared a dish of tongue, saying, "It is the best of all dishes, because with it we may bless and communicate happiness, dispel sorrow, remove despair, cheer the faint hearted, inspire the discouraged, and say a hundred other things to uplift mankind." Later the philosopher asked his servant to provide the worst dish of which he could think. A dish of tongue appeared on the table. The servant said, "It is the worst, because with it we may curse and break human hearts; destroy reputations; promote discord and strife; set families, communities, and nations at war with each other." He was a wise servant.

It is easy for a husband and wife to upset each other with words. Sometimes intentional and sometimes not:
On their honeymoon, a groom took his bride by the hand and said, "Now that we’re married, dear, I hope you won’t mind if I mention a few little defects that I’ve noticed about you."
"Not at all," the bride replied with a deceptive sweetness. "It was those little defects that kept me from getting a better husband." (tou’shea)

Quarrels between close relatives are often the hardest to mend.
We sometimes say that a man has to eat his words. If they have been good words, they will yield satisfaction to him. He will be rewarded according to the nature of his speech.

My name is Gossip
I am more deadly than the screaming shell of the cannon. I win without killing. I tear down homes, break hearts, wreck lives. I travel on the wings of the wind. No innocence is strong enough to intimidate me, no purity pure enough to daunt me. I have no regard for truth, no respect for justice, no mercy for the defenseless. My victims are as numerous as the sands of the sea and often as innocent. I never forget and seldom forgive.

Even other religions are aware of the Power of the Tongue:
Pick Your Teeth!
It’s one of the greatest sins and yet it’s something we do day after day. Sometimes we don’t even realize it. You’re just chatting away with your friends and you begin to talk about somebody else. Our whole lives are based around ’Home and Away’ and ’Neighbors’, soaps based on lying, backbiting etc. But look at what the Prophet (saw) said about it: The Prophet (saw) was sitting with his companion’s one day and one of them was speaking badly about someone who wasn’t there. As the man got up to leave the Prophet (saw) said to him: "Pick Your Teeth!" "But I haven’t eaten anything." The man protested. "No" the Prophet (saw) said "YOU HAVE EATEN THE FLESH OF YOUR DEAD BROTHER". As Allah tells us in the Quran "Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? No, you would hate it." (Ch49: v12)

The tongue has great potential for good or evil. Those who love to use it a lot must be prepared to take the consequences. When used properly the tongue can mend fences, heal broken hearts and encourage those who are in
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