Life or Death in the Tongue

        “My feet are killing me!”

        “You’re a pain in the neck”.

        “I’m sick and tired of this.”

How often have you heard those words?

Maybe, you’ve even said them.

Fast forward a few years, you have feet that are in so much pain they are literally ‘killing’ you, and a pain in the neck area that you can’t get rid of. You constantly feel sick and tired.

The words we say are powerful. Whenever we speak, we are releasing the potential for positive or negative effect into the atmosphere. Our words have the power to create, to form and fashion something out of nothing and to change outcomes. In Genesis 1, God spoke and the world was created. He has given us the same creative power that by the words we speak, we create outcomes, good or bad. Do you speak life or death?


         God’s Word does not return empty and our words don’t either.


The Bible says a lot about our use of words:

  • Isaiah 55:11 “so is my word that goes out from my mouth:It will not return to me empty,but will accomplish what I desireand achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
  • Proverbs 18:21 “The tongue has the power of life and death,and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
  • Proverbs 12:18 “The words of the reckless pierce like swords,but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
  • Romans 4:17 “the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.”

This is a subject I often chat with my kids about and my children can sometimes be heard reminding me “Mum, be careful what you say as it will come true”.

Our family is so used to hearing about the power of our words that even last week we had a great example of this. Josh (12) was one of the top 3 semi finalists in the Victorian Young Achiever Awards for the Creating Change Category for his work with collecting over 18,000 pairs of brand new socks for the homeless. Dan (the eventual winner) had done amazing things and I commented how Dan would probably win it but that Josh and I needed to write a speech just in case Josh won. Josh interrupted me and said, “Mum, you are not creating a good atmosphere. You should be supporting me and saying instead, ‘When you win…’.” Josh was realistic but also fully aware of what we say into the atmosphere can change the future.

Self talk

Self talk also comes under this category. When we say negative things about ourselves eg “I’m an idiot, I shouldn’t have done that” it releases the potential for me to think like an idiot, to see myself like an idiot and to become an idiot.

Words spoken harshly or hastily can still affect us years after the incident. Did a parent or teacher ever make a negative remark to you that you can still remember?

  • “You are stupid”
  • “You’re ugly”
  • “You’ll never amount to anything”

How has that impacted your life? Your beliefs about yourself?

Impact of a Parent’s words

In a rash moment of anger or frustration we, as parents, can say something that will impact and change our child’s self-esteem and life forever.

I’ll never forget a number of years ago when Matey and I were going over his spelling words for his visual and auditory processing exercises. My frustration level was rising and Matey suddenly stopped and said, “Please don’t get angry and say something horrible to me.” This made me stop and have a serious think about what I was communicating to him. I was reacting out of shame. At the previous appointment, Matey had completely forgotten all the work we had done and the behavioural optometrist asked us not to come back if he couldn’t do it the next appointment as it was a waste of time. I had felt ashamed and that emotion was then impacting my behaviour when we next were practicing my son’s spelling words.

There is so much power in your words. We can take precautions when we are frustrated and angry to not speak, to take a few minutes time out, but there may be a time when we say something hurtful or life impacting in a negative way.

What can we do when we have hurt our children with our words:

  1. Apologise. Not just say sorry but accept full responsibility.
  2. Realise that it takes a lot more times of saying the positive for them to then believe it.
  3. Lead our kids through a prayer to break all agreement with the lies. You may also need to do this for yourself. An example is “I break all agreements with lies and negative thoughts, both known and unknown. I also break all agreements with assumptions & perceptions that have come about through believing the lies. Please forgive me God for partnering with the lie. God, what would you like to give me, show me or tell me in exchange for the lie?”

I encourage you to have a new normal in your life and at home. No negative words. Only kind and positive words allowed.

Power of words when praying:

Can I also encourage you to use the power of your words for good when praying? This is an amazing weapon that we have been given for living a victorious Christian life. I find that a massively effective way of praying is to decree & declare that what is in heaven is done. Eg “I decree and declare that your back will be completely healed”. I find that this carries a lot more authority than praying, “God, can you please heal this person?”.

There is slight difference between a decree and declaration.

  • A decree is an order, a command or a prescription.
  • A declaration is to announce officially, to proclaim, to make public.

That is why I usually listen to God for what He wants me to pray and then boldly proclaim, “I decree and declare…”

I encourage you to try it and see if there is any difference in the authority that you operate in as you pray.