Careful or Life Giving?

Oh be careful little tongue what you say. Oh be careful little tongue what you say. For the Father up above is looking down in love. So be careful little tongue what you say.

Did you sing that song in Sunday school? Where did your thoughts go when you did? Did you think about what you shouldn’t say? Did you think about the bad words or mean things that you needed to get a grip on?

What about the part about God looking down in love? How did you see that? Was it a loving smile or gritted teeth that you saw? Was He really looking down in love at those horrible things you said or was He ready to smite you if you didn’t straighten up? Did He reserve his loving looks for those who were careful?

I used to sing that song with trepidation. BE CAREFUL! BE CAREFUL! BE CAREFUL! I am a little sister with little sister tendencies and a sarcastic bent. 🙂 I also have a tendency to try things that I’m told I’m not supposed to. I’ve got a scar from a mean old cactus to prove that point.

So telling me to be careful…ohhhh…there must be something fun going on behind those words. 🙂

I realized today that I’ve looked at the words to that song all wrong. Or maybe the song is all wrong. Or may my perspective of the song was all wrong.

I heard what I needed to avoid. I heard that it was all up to me. I heard that He is up there waiting to catch me not being careful. I heard that He was watching my every move for the least little mistake.

Then somewhere along the way I grew up and we stopped singing that song. Oh, I’m sure the wee little ones still sing it. Maybe it has a place with the wee little ones. Maybe it’s like their milk.

But one day I was introduced to the verse about the power of life and death being in our tongues.

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

And wouldn’t you know, I keyed in on the power of death being in our tongues. I keyed in on the power to say the wrong thing. I keyed in on the power to destroy. Better be careful with that tongue!

But there has been a shift happening in my heart and mind. I’ve begun to realize that there is another very important part to that verse…the power of life.  That power is also in our tongues. The power to declare His promises over my life. The power to call things that aren’t as if they are. The power to call something up and out of a person that God sees in them that they may not see for themselves. The power to encourage. The power to exhort. The power to speak life into people and circumstances.

“Look also at ships; although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.” – James 3:4

I read this verse today and something clicked about the power of the tongue. Something clicked about how important it is to use the tongue to speak life. Something clicked about using the tongue to steer my life in the direction I want to go and not just live a life BEING CAREFUL.

Use that little rudder in your mouth to speak life and there is no telling where you and others will go in this life!




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