"The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit."

Proverbs 18:21

One of the keys to walking in love is to resist saying anything unkind about someone else. If we’re going to be in God’s will, we have to guard the words we speak.

Solomon said, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Prov. 18:21). If you are going to grow up in Christ, you will have to get a handle on what comes out of your mouth. Your words have the power to change someone’s life.

Parents, you have the ability to change the direction of your children’s lives by the words you speak not only to them, but also about them. Husbands and wives, your words can heal or hinder your spouse, whether spoken in or out of his or her presence.

If you are someone who speaks negatively about people, or who simply spreads information about someone else, you are a gossiper. People who gossip do not really know how to love.

You can change someone’s life by encouraging and “loving on” that person and that means not discussing his or her shortcomings with other people. Jesus said, “It’s not what enters a man’s mouth that defiles him, but what comes out of his mouth” (Mark 7:15, paraphrased).

Being negative or critical of other people will also bring unhappiness into your own life. Your life follows your words. When you get your words turned around, your whole life will turn around. Peter tells us that if we want to enjoy life, and if we want to see good days in our lives, we must stop being critical and stop talking negatively about other people (see 1 Peter 3:10). People will never measure up to all of our expectations. Most of us don’t even realize how negative we are every day.

We tend to be unkind and don’t even realize it because it is our sin nature. Even though as Christians we are crucified with Christ, every once in awhile the critical, dead man rises up out of that coffin! The important thing is that we recognize it and are quick to repent.

Spiritual growth is a process. Learning to walk in love is a lifelong process; as soon as we overcome a challenge in one area, another will rise up to test and stretch us. Because God’s love is infinite, the lessons of love we must learn are endless!