Toxic Talk: Is Your Tongue Turning You into an Open Grave?
Standing above an open grave can be a scary experience. The freshly dug hole in the earth seeks to be filled with more earth, the earth found in our bodies. But did you know that there are people whose words are like an open grave? Their words seem to be filled with destruction and negativity, much like the imagery painted in Psalm 5. Let’s explore the transformative power of words, the impact of our speech on others, and how we can rise above negativity to become agents of positivity and encouragement.
The Pitfalls of Destructive Words
Psalm 5 describes individuals whose words are untrustworthy, whose hearts are filled with malice, and whose tongues are deceitful. These words are likened to an open grave, a place of death and decay. Just as an open grave is meant to be filled with lifeless bodies, these individuals use their words to tear down and harm. It’s likely that you’ve encountered someone like this in your life – someone who constantly speaks negatively about people or situations, offering no constructive criticism but seeking to bring others down.
“There is nothing reliable in what they say; Their inward part is destruction itself. Their throat is an open grave; They flatter with their tongue.” — Psalm 5:9 (NASB1995)
David’s Cry for Deliverance
The Psalmist, David, understood the weight of dealing with people who possessed such destructive speech. He cried out to God, asking for deliverance from these individuals who were close to him – staff members and citizens who aimed to deceive him for their own gain. David’s situation reminds us that even in challenging environments, God is our source of strength and refuge.
“O Lord, lead me in Your righteousness because of my foes; Make Your way straight before me.” — Psalm 5:8 (NASB1995)
Embracing Transformation through Christ
Amidst the negativity that can surround us, there is hope. Jesus came to reveal the Truth, a Truth that has the power to set us free from hurting ourselves and others with our words. His teachings emphasize love, compassion, and kindness – qualities that can transform our speech from being like an open grave to becoming a wellspring of life.
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” — John 8:32 (NASB1995)
Becoming a Closed Grave
To be the opposite of an open grave, we must strive to become a closed grave. This means guarding our hearts and minds against negative thoughts and words. Instead of allowing destructive language to flow from our mouths, we should cultivate a habit of speaking encouragement, positivity, and life. Proverbs 18:21 reminds us that our words have the power of life and death, and we have the choice to use them for good.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” — Proverbs 18:21 (NASB1995)
Creating Opportunities for Good
Transforming into a closed grave requires intentional effort. If you find it challenging to identify opportunities to speak positively, create them. Step outside your comfort zone and offer an encouraging word to the next person you meet. By doing so, you become a conduit of God’s love and grace, impacting the lives of others in a meaningful way.
“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” — Ephesians 4:29 (NASB1995)
5 Steps to Embracing Positive Speech
- Self-Reflection: Take a moment to reflect on your speech. Are you more like an open grave or a closed grave? Identify areas where you can improve.
- Guard Your Heart: Proactively guard your heart against negative thoughts and attitudes that may lead to destructive speech.
- Choose Your Words: Before speaking, consider whether your words will build others up or tear them down. Choose words that bring life.
- Practice Encouragement: Make a conscious effort to offer words of encouragement to those around you. Look for opportunities to uplift and inspire.
- Pray for Transformation: Ask God for help in transforming your speech. Pray for wisdom and guidance in using your words to reflect His love.
In a world where negativity can easily take root, let us strive to be the light that overcomes darkness. Just as an open grave represents death and decay, our words can either bring destruction or life. Through the power of Christ’s transformative love and our intentional efforts, we can become closed graves – sources of positivity, encouragement, and hope. Let Psalm 141:3 be our prayer: “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.”