Lesson 5 with Bob Bender: Power in the Tongue


Refreshed from time with my friends, I came home, reclaimed my couch, and started my bending therapy.  My knee stiff from the absence of bending while in Florida, I was not very happy with the degrees lost let alone the intense pressure and pain.  Once the rhythm of bending was established and the knee relaxed and pain subsided, I picked up the Bible and began to read in Matthew 15.  In verse 11, I read ,

“It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you, you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.”

How powerful and true this verse is! Today we say hurtful things and then respond with, “I didn’t mean it!” Or we will justify our words by saying, “It’s been said to me and it doesn’t hurt me, so it shouldn’t hurt you!”  Then we have the wonderful rhyme of “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.” They are all lies and ones that I myself too have used, but it is wrong!  Words can and do cut deeper than any weapon because they cut to the very heart and soul of the person they are spoken to. We all have been on the opposing and receiving end and know full well how it feels. 

As I read a little further, Peter asked for clarification of the above verse and Jesus replied, “ “Don’t you understand yet?”  “Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.  But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you.”

Out of my mouth flows the evil of my heart, and if the evil of my heart defiles me as it comes out of my mouth, what does it do to the person spoken to? It kills their spirit, causes a lie and label to be born, causes  varying disorders,  loneliness, isolation, suicide, school shootings, rejection and more. We’ve all said something unkind to fit in or to bring another down to feel better about ourselves but it doesn’t make it right. We need to understand “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences (Proverbs 18:21). We are reminded again in James 3:6 just how powerful the tongue is when it says “Among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself ”

What we fail to realize is there is power in the spoken word. God spoke the world and everything into being with His words. (Genesis 1:1) We were created in his image(Genesis 1:27) a little lower than the angels and crowned with glory and honor (Psalm 8:5).  The Bible tells us that, “Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit” (Proverbs 15:4 ) and that “Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body” (Proverbs 16:24). Our words when spoken should match that of  life given and life received.

As I ended my bending session, the old quote of, “if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all” has never rung so loudly. Words used improperly, hurt and cause death whether physical or spiritual.  I am a role model to my children, and when I defile myself with my words, I defile them as well.  I teach them to have no regard for others and I can teach them the lie that words have no meaning….but last time I checked, these words are in the dictionary and they do have meaning,. If I don’t want it to mean anything then I should never speak them. You never know the story of the person next to you or the condition of their spirit, so the little song “Be Careful Little Mouth What You Say” is also true. For my careless and harsh spoken words are looked upon by my Heavenly Father and I will have to give account.

Matthews 12:36-37, “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”