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By Joyell Nevins – CFFM Blogger

Splat! I accidentally hit my morning coffee mug, and the contents went cascading down the wall and splashed onto my rocker as well.

I got the necessary materials to clean up the mess, and then continued on with my day with only slightly less caffeine than usual.

Days later, I was retrieving an item from a bottom shelf and happened to glance over by my rocker. There on the wall were ugly brown spots – it took me a minute to realize they were left over from the coffee splatter! The residue that I thought I had all clean.

The Lord reminded me that my words can be like that – leaving unintentional damage even after I think I’ve cleaned up the situation. Proverbs 18:21 reminds us of the power of what we say:

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21 NKJV

I want my words to bring LIFE, not leave residual damage.

Loving Our Loved Ones

This is especially true concerning our loved ones. The more comfortable we are with someone, the easier it can be to speak without thinking.

My family and close friends often see the worst side of me; I know they love me anyway, but I don’t want to leave ‘coffee stains’ on their hearts. Yes, I want to be truthful, but like in Ephesians 4:15, speak that truth in love.

 Photo by Brett Jordan

Casual snarky comments, quick barbs, or unexpected outbursts sometimes make imprints that remain long after I have apologized – and that’s if I know I have spoken out of turn!

Other times, a negative comment I had made stuck with a friend months or years afterwards, and I didn’t even recall saying it. The words had just gone from my head to my mouth without a filter.

Speak Life

But, this exhortation to you and me is not all gloom and coffee doom. Remember, death AND life are in the power of the tongue – we can leave a mark that doesn’t stain, but rather paints a beautiful picture on the wall of our loved ones’ hearts (thanks to Dr. Tom Elliff for that analogy).

I want my mouth to be one that brings blessing, not cursing (James 3:9-12).

I want to be guided by the Lord and as it says in Isaiah, be a “Repairer of the Breach.”

“The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

 Those from among you shall build the old waste places; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of the Streets to Dwell In.” Isaiah 58:11-12 NKJV

 I want to infuse the love of Jesus into every situation I’m in with my speech and my actions.

May we all use our tongues to bring life and blessing to those around us, and especially those we love.