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September 19 – Watch your mouth (part 1)

“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” – Proverbs 12:18

Scripture readings: Proverbs 12:18; Ephesians 4:29

There’s an old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” That’s not what Scripture tells us. “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts” (Proverbs 12:18a). We have all done it when we are angry. We use our tongues like a weapon, hacking and slashing. Or we direct our words, like a scalpel, with cold, calculated precision, to cut where it hurts most. This is true of our cyber-tongues on social media as well. Once the words are out, you can’t take them back.

James reminds us, “No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God” (James 3:8-9).

However, we can humble ourselves before God and others and confess our reckless words. The blood of Jesus washes away our guilt and God forgives us. His Spirit within can tame our tongues. “The tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18b). Maybe you have experienced the joy of saying something that encouraged or comforted another person. Maybe someone else’s words have restored you. Above all, Jesus speaks to us in the gospel with life-giving, healing power.

“Let no corrupting 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).

Suggestions for prayer

Thank God for His life-giving speech. Ask Him to sanctify your mouth.

Pastor Richard Zekveld, his wife Nancy (nee Vandermeer), and their five children live in South Holland, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Richard has pastored Covenant Fellowship Church of South Holland (PCA) since 2015, he also works part-time in jail ministry as a chaplain for Chicagoland Prison Outreach. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at

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