Be Responsible for Every Spoken Word

Ever stopped to think how much power your words have on it’s listeners? Well, they do: the words you speak preserve or destroy life. You are responsible for every spoken word. Sobering? It’s NOT what you say that’s the problem, it’s the WAY you deliver the message. 

Let’s take a look at what the Bible has to say on the subject. Because…Proverbs 18:21

Be Responsible for Every Spoken Word

Your Words Have the Power of Life & Death

  • People live or die because of the things you say.
  • Words kill marriages, families, friendships, churches, careers, hopes, reputations, etc.
  • Did you know? Tongues are used as weapons of mass destruction, launching holocausts and wars.

Questions for YOU

  • Is your tongue “a tree of life” to the hearer?  Proverbs 15:4
  • Do your words reconcile, make peace, make your marriage sweet, your family strong?
  • Do you give hope or despair? Open understanding? Soften the heart?
  • Choose Your Words Carefully

“Trash language cuts & maims, but there is healing in the words of the wise.” Proverbs 12:18

You’re to Be Responsible for Every Spoken Word

  • Such are words: either you bless or you curse.
  • Words bring life, joy, encouragement, hope & healing in the right tone at the right time.
  • They also can degrade, humiliate and destroy if you don’t monitor and control them.

Thing is that WORDS create. Whether words are good or bad words makes no difference. They are seeds you sow every time you speak, that grow no matter what. They are no respecter of persons. They build or they tear down. YOU, on the other hand… have control on the type of seed you sow. THAT is your responsibility before God. That is why the Bible commands us to put a guard over our hearts. 

Proverbs 4:23-27 (MSG) Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts. 

Words Reveal Character

Matthew 12:33-37 (MSG) “If you grow a healthy tree, you’ll pick healthy fruit. If you grow a diseased tree, you’ll pick worm-eaten fruit. The fruit tells you about the tree. You have minds like a snake pit! How do you suppose what you say is worth anything when you are so foul-minded? It’s your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard. Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.”

Our words – our speech – what we say – is a perfect reflection of our hearts.

According to Jesus, we will give an account for every word we have spoken. THAT, is a sobering thought.


  • 4: The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.
  • 6: A fool’s lips bring him strife, and his mouth invites a beating.
  • 7: A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul.

PROVERBS 17:8-21

  • 8:  A gossip’s words are like choice morsels; they sink into the inmost being.
  • 13: He who answers a matter before he hears it is folly and disgrace to him.
  • 21: Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

There are more than 150 verses in Proverbs devoted to the tongue, speech & words.

That’s one out of every six verses.

Words also have power to manipulate public opinion and shape social policy.

Notice the change / difference: 

  • Today we rarely hear anyone speak of fornication. Instead they’re sexually liberated.
  • People aren’t drug addicts; they’re chemically dependent.
  • Homosexuals are now defined as same-sex attraction or alternative lifestyle.
  • People don’t kill babies; they end a pregnancy.
  • Men and women don’t commit adultery; they have an affair.

How we use and employ words make ALL the difference in the world.

Proverbs makes it clear that you will recognize a fool by his speech, just as you will recognize the wise person by his words.

Words Tell Us About a Person’s Character & Heart

  • It all depends on what’s filling your heart.
  • A critical heart produces a critical tongue.
  • An ungrateful heart produces a grumbling tongue.
  • A self-righteous heart produces a judgmental tongue.
  • A bitter heart produces a harsh, bitter, or unpleasant word.
  • Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

Be Responsible for Every Spoken Word “The Words You Speak Will All Depend on What’s Filling Your Heart.”

If We’re Not Careful, Words Can Be Destructive

  • “By the mouth of a fool comes a rod for his back, but the lips of the wise will preserve them” Prov. 14:3.
  • “A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating. A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul” Prov. 18:6-7.

It’s Not That The Fool Deliberately Pursues His Own Destruction.

He’s So Reckless With Words He Invites His Own Rebuke With His Careless Speech.

  • “Put away crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you” Prov. 4:24; 12:19.
  • “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight” Prov. 12:22.

Proverbs Condemns Slander / Malicious Gossip

  • “The one who conceals hatred has lying lips, and whoever utters slander is a fool” Prov. 10:18.
  • “Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered” Prov. 11:13.
  • “Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler” Prov. 20:19.

Address Gossip / Slander

  • Some people are gluttons for gossip. It’s called verbal bulimia.
  • They eat everything they hear, then vomit it back up in destructive gossip.
  • “For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases. As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.” Proverbs 26:20-21 
  • If you want to stop a fire, take away the fuel. When someone shares gossip or slander, interrupt it immediately.
  • Challenge the gossiper to provide concrete evidence for what they’re saying. Provide proof or shut up. 

Speech Proverbs Commend

Proverbs talks about calm, gentle, and pleasant dialogue.

  • “The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord, but gracious words are pure” Prov. 15:26.
  • “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body” Prov. 16:24.
  • “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” Prov. 15:1.
  • “A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit” Prov. 15:4.

You will make more progress in persuading an opponent and have far greater success making your viewpoint known and accepted when you speak softly and gently. Harsh words rarely succeed in overcoming stubborn opposition.

John Calvin wrote:

  • “When a man is running short on evidence, he raises his voice but the person who is confident of the truth is calm and gentle.”

Proverbs Commends Being Slow to Speak / Choosing the Appropriate Time

  • “The wise lay up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool brings ruin near” Prov. 10:14.
  • By “laying up knowledge” he means someone who is not talkative and makes no show of what he knows.
  • The tongue is governed by pride. The fool blurts out statements which do more harm than good. 
  • “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent” Prov. 10:19.
  • “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
  • Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent” Prov. 17:27-28.
  • “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame” Prov. 18:13.

WHEN We Speak Is Often As Important As WHAT We Say

Even the most priceless truths fall lifeless to the ground if spoken in haste and with harsh tone. Listen. Think. Weigh the circumstances. Ponder the consequences. A fool can hide his lack of knowledge by simply keeping his mouth shut.

Abraham Lincoln put it best when he said:

  • “It is better to keep your mouth shut and let them think you a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

“Let no corrupt talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear”

Ephesians 4:29

Norma Bourque Niles