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Proverbs 18:21 And The Meaning Behind It

by Lois R. Earles
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In order to understand the true power of words, one must remember they can either plant gardens or burn whole forests down. That is exactly what Proverbs 18:21 refers to. It states: “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” The point being, think before you speak because your words have consequences.

This ability that we have, to speak and communicate with each other using words is a gift. And, it is a gift that needs to be valued and treasured. Language is a privilege that many of us often do not appreciate enough. But, everything would be so different without it.

Language allows us to connect with each other more closely by sharing our thoughts, ideas, and feelings. It has the power to bring people together, inspire, and even change the world. So, what Proverbs 18:21 is trying to tell us is that in order to wholly appreciate the power of words, we must become aware of the impact they can have on others.

Choose Your Words Wisely

False accusations can destroy relationships and have an extremely negative impact on others. There is a great story through which the meaning behind Proverbs 18:21 can be explained. It is about an old man who spreads gossip around town that his neighbor is a thief.

That neighbor is eventually proven innocent, and even though he was discharged by the court, he still felt completely humiliated. So, he decided to sue the old man for wrongly accusing him.

The old man was sure that his accusations were just inconsequential comments. So, he was instructed to write those comments down on a piece of paper, cut them up, and throw them away on his way back home. The next day, when he returned to court, the judge then instructed him to collect all the ripped out pieces of paper that he previously threw away.

Shocked at the judge’s request, the old man tried to explain to the court that there is no way that he could collect those papers. He said, “The wind must have blown and spread them away, and I won’t know where to find them!”

Little did he know, that is exactly what the judge was anticipating. And so the judge replied to the old man: “In that same way, comments are able to shatter the honor and integrity of a man so much that he will never be able to completely restore it.” Hence, the old man apologized to his neighbor and promised to choose his words more carefully in the future.

Kind Words Can Go A Long Way

A wise woman once said that “kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” That woman was Mother Teresa. She vowed to wholeheartedly give free service to the poorest of the poor. Therefore, she knew that even just one word of kindness could change a person’s entire perspective.

Try to remember the last time someone said something nice to you. It made you happier, didn’t it? Well, you have that same ability. Sometimes, all it takes to leave a long-lasting positive impact on a person is a short compliment. Even just a single word of support will do. And don’t forget; what we nurture grows and thrives!

By recognizing the humanity around us and nurturing kindness within ourselves, we become more pleasant to be around. The ability to empathize with others helps us to connect and enjoy more positive relationships. Spreading this positivity does not only come with possessing the ability to make others happy, but it is also better for our own health and overall well-being.

Did you know that stress-related illnesses are a major contributing factor to the six leading causes of death in the United States? That’s right. Stress can cause a weakened immune system, high blood sugar, and even result in problems with fertility. It is really one of the main killers out there.

However, it is a fact that acts and words of kindness can ease anxiety and reduce stress. They can also prevent illness and even prolong our lives. Hence, as it says in Proverbs 18:21: “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

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