Photo of a lion on a cold day by Tambako the Jaguar on Flickr CC BY-ND-2.0

If you live in a warm climate, there are a few things you’re missing out on.

One of them is the ability to see your own breath.

(You’re also missing out on high heating bills in winter, backaches from shovelling snow, and frostbitten fingers, but I think you can do without those things!)

Why can we sometimes see our breath in cold climates?

With the combination of cold outdoor temperatures and the right humidity, your breath condenses as it is exhaled. It then appears as a misty cloud being emitted from your mouth.

It got me thinking: wouldn’t it be helpful if we could see our own words, too, and not just our breath?

By that I mean, if only we could see in physical form how our words affect others, we’d think twice about what we say.

If words came out of our mouth visibly shaped like the weapons they often are, we’d probably be horrified. If we saw what appeared to be daggers or fists hurtling toward the other person, we’d want to take back what we’d just said.

The truth is, our words can be immensely harmful to others. The biting and cutting language we use can be just as damaging to others as an actual knife.

That’s why Scripture describes the tongue as a flame of fire (James 3:6). The caustic words we use can sabotage our relationships and careers and set our whole life on fire.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.” (Proverbs 18:21)

“It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” (Matthew 15:11)

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

Just as negative words can burn others and ourselves, positive words can have a healing effect.

Words that are encouraging, positive, faith-filled, and loving can function as a balm to others. When we speak to others in gentleness, it’s almost like giving them a bouquet of flowers.

“Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” (Proverbs 16:24)

“Gentle words are a tree of life.” (Proverbs 15:4a)

So let’s be careful with our words. Once they leave our lips, they can’t be retracted.

What we say can be forgiven by others, but rarely forgotten.

“Take control of what I say, O LORD, and guard my lips.”

psalm 141:3

© 2022 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.

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