Blessings and Cursings
But the tongue can no man tame; it is a restless evil, it is full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we the Lord and Father; and therewith curse we men, who are made after the likeness of God: out of the same mouth cometh forth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth the fountain send forth from the same opening sweet water and bitter? Can a fig tree, my brethren, yield olives, or a vine figs? Neither can salt water yield sweet. - James 3:8-12
As children, when hurt by mean words, we’re taught to say, “Sticks and stones can hurt my bones, but words can never harm me.”
It’s a nice sentiment, but, unfortunately, not true.
In Proverbs 18:21, the Bible says that life and death are in the power of the tongue. After all, God used words when He spoke the worlds into being. He created by speaking. And throughout Scripture, He talks about the power of words, the effects of pronouncing both blessings and curses upon things. And He also warns about the misuse of the tongue. In Mathew 12:36, Jesus admonishes us, “And I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”
Why would God care so much about what we say, why would He intend to hold us accountable for our words, if words are, indeed harmless? He cares, because they’re not harmless. They are, in fact, weapons that can be used by His Holy Spirit for good or by the enemy of our souls, Satan, for evil.
Man, created in God’s image, should, like God, use words to create good in people’s lives and in our world. But, because sin has entered our hearts, we often use our words to tear down, discourage, dishearten, curse, criticize, speak or plan negative, crude, evil, immoral or ungodly things. Jesus told the Pharisees that it’s not what enters into a man that defiles him but what comes out of him – because what comes out of him reveals what’s in his heart – whether hatreds, murders, envy, deceit, curses, greed, etc.
The Bible also calls Satan the prince of the air. And when our words for evil are spoken out into the air, the enemy can use them for his purposes -- to kill, steal and destroy, in our own life and the lives of others. Speaking cursings or mean, evil words reinforces those very things back into our own souls as well as harms those they’re spoken against. That’s why, when we speak discouraging things, such as, “I’m just a failure; I’m worthless; I can’t do anything right;” or worse, it’s so devastating to our spirit. Satan takes those utterances and uses them to create footholds in our lives for insecurities, self-hatred, suicidal tendencies. He builds the lies and deceit in our thinking to control us and keep us prisoner to those types of thought patterns.
And, in the lives of others, when we speak those kinds of things, they’re actually curses, pronouncements that can be used, again, to create those very outcomes in the lives of others.
On the other hand, when we speak blessings over people, we send forth good that the Holy Spirit takes and uses to produce life in others. That’s why, throughout the Bible, you see the significance attached to the blessings fathers pronounce on their children and the blessings spoken over people and places. These are life-givers, and they produce righteousness, good things, encouragement, hope and right thinking in others.
So, be careful how you use your tongue. Be careful what you say. Don’t sabotage your own battle with cancer or that of someone else with some hopeless, negative pronouncement. Don’t use your words to curse, tear down, belittle, discourage or harm others. Speak blessings over others, over yourself, your family and your house. Speak blessings when you enter and leave a place. Think before you speak, especially when you’ve been hurt or are angry.
And when God points to things in your heart that need to be changed so you don’t speak words that are death-producers, repent and ask Him to help you evict those things, replacing them with what He calls good and right, so your words reflect a heart that is right and turned toward God.