Negative Talk

Do Your Words Bring Life or Death?

By Brittany Rust


The Power of Your Words

When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.
— Proverbs 31:26

God has been working in me the power of the tongue. How our words have the ability to bring life or death (Prov. 18:21). That we should be quick to listen and slow to speak (James 1:19). Taming the tongue is truly one of the hardest things to master in this world. And Scripture points to the destruction it can bring in your life.

  • A cutting remark to your spouse.

  • A frustrated snap towards your children.

  • A little gossip with your friends.

  • A co-workers idea shot down without empathy.

  • The negative self-talk about your worth.

  • Words doubting God’s goodness in a trial.

If you were to truly take an inventory of your words today, how would you fair?

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It’s amazing how much negative talk you might see once you take an honest evaluation of your words—internal and external.

Are your words bringing death or life to yourself, your family, your community, and your communication with God?

I just want to pause right here and dig a little deeper, practically. And I only share what I’ve wrestled with. Our children are so impressionable and vulnerable. How we speak to them—whether verbal or nonverbal—deeply effects them. Perhaps in ways we might now notice until they’re older. 

I’ve been reading No Drama Discipline and the authors go in-depth about the child’s brain and the large impacts our small choices can make. How you treat your child now will form them into the adult they become.

Think about your words, or even your gestures, towards your child(ren). Are they bringing life or are they tearing down your little one? It’s important that the positive significantly outweighs the negative—as much as 9 positive for every 1 negative. This isn’t easy, which means it will require being on and intentional each and every day. 

James 3 says,

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?

Bringing Life in Your Words

You won’t master perfect life-giving language this side of heaven but mixing positive and negative talk should be limited as much as possible. And that will take hard work.

  • It will require getting His Word in you as much as possible.

  • It will mean pausing before you speak.

  • It will require intentionality and perseverance.

But if you will pursue righteous language, I firmly believe one can overwhelmingly abide in your life.

It also says in James 3 that the tongue cannot be tamed by a human. But that’s human limitation because with God, anything is possible. Turn your language over to Him. Invite the Holy Spirit to empower you to speak life, not death. To lift up and encourage; not tear down. To talk about the holiness of God rather than spread doubt in His ability. “Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift” Ephesians 4:29.

Take this to heart today and evaluate your language. Are your words bringing life or death?