“A soothing tongue is a tree of life, but perversion in it crushes the spirit.” Prov. 15:4 (NASB)
“You can tell more about a person by what he says about others, than by what others say about him.” Lee Aiken
I grew up on a farm. Cousins and friends were always coming out to visit and we loved to venture into the woods to explore. There was a lot of polkweed that grew along the creek, and being boys, the first thing we would do would be look for those polk plants.
Polkweed has berries. We would pick the berries, build little forts and have polkberry fights. We would throw the berries at each other as we were sheltered in our forts, and if someone was hit it would leave a purple stain.
When we returned home, everybody knew what we had been doing. Needless to say, we were in a lot of trouble, because after the purple spots dried they were impossible to wash out.
“Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Rom. 13:10 (NASB)
When we speak kind words we show others the true type of person we are. When we speak malevolently, we show that we are not trying to be what God wants us to be. What comes from our lips is what is really in our heart.
“The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” Luke 6:45 (NASB)
Just as those polkberries would leave a lasting stain, it should remind us of something we need to remember about disparaging words. A lot of the time the effect of what we say lasts longer than what we said.
“From the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water.” James 3:10-11 (NASB)