Choosing to Curse or Bless
An old adage goes, “Sticks ands stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.” Words and other forms of media might not be able to punch us across the face, but our mental health can suffer greatly.[i] Jesus told His disciples in Mark 7:20-22, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” This is one reason why the Bible also refers to the tongue as a, ”restless evil, full of deadly poison.” The tongue is a powerful weapon, but it’s only as evil as its wielder. Each person has to decide whether it will be used for evil, or a purpose that’s greater and higher than themselves.
Proverbs 12:18 says, “rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” When anyone loses sight of God, they can begin to become hypocritical in their speech by blessing God and only to then negatively impact others with their speech. James 3:9-10 reads, “With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” However, cursing is not the only danger that stems from speech that isn’t righteously motivated. In 2 Corinthians 20-21, The apostle Paul warns church members when he says, “For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented.”
Therefore, children of God are encouraged to think before we speak. James 1:19 says, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” Everyone gets to choose whether or not they will glorify God when interacting with others. Doing so however, entails more than simply saying words that God wants to hear. This is because glorifying God is about the heart’s motivation. 1 Corinthians 13:1 reads, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” The only way to truly conquer the evil within is to align with God because He is the goodness and light that brings salvation (John 3:17-21). If anyone wants to align themselves with God, then the first thing they must do is be baptized in His name. After this, they must let God renew their mind and continually choose to be obedient in their faith. 1 Thessalonians 5:14-24 tells us, “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”
[i] Social Media is an example of how much words can affect us mentally and emotionally. The N.I.H’s National Library of Medicine website says, “Studies implicate smartphone and social media use in the increase in mental distress, self-injurious behaviour and suicidality among youth…the effects appear to be greatest among girls.” Adolescents are not the only group affected by the negative impacts of social media. Adults around the world are employed as content moderators for social media companies. In 2019 the Washington Post interviewed 14 current and former moderators in Manila. Those workers said, “nightmares, paranoia and obsessive ruminations were common consequences of the job…colleagues suffer mental breakdowns at their desks…he tempted suicide as a result of the trauma.”