How we speak to others can either offer them a healing balm or a crushing blow. As we've read in Proverbs, the tongue has amazing power as it speaks words. That is also the case here - where we once again have a choice to make - this time with the words that we speak.
The first thing we read of here is that there is such a thing as a healing, soothing tongue. The word here means a tongue that offering healing, a remedy. It refers to a restorative cure, a renewal from an illness or sickness. More is learned when we see a comparison drawn up about this healing tongue. It is compared to a tree of life. There is an image that we see a lot in Scripture. The tree of life was in the garden of eden - it is also in heaven at the end of the age. What is most interesting is that the tree of life refers to Jesus Christ. In the truest way - He is the tree of life. So we have another interesting parallel. Those who use their tongue for healing - for the restorative cure are as a tree of life.
Our tongues are to be used to spread the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we do this - we are being a tree of life. THE tree of life is Jesus Christ - and when we share the life-giving, soul-healing message of the gospel - we too are being a tree of life. Remember that Jesus said that He was the light of the world - and He also called us to be the light of the world as we share the truth with others. Here we have the parallel - He is the tree of life and we can be a tree of life as well, sharing the gospel which is the only source to heal and remedy man's sin.
There is another way that our tongues can be used though. We are told that when we have perversion in our tongues a different we see different results when we speak. Perversion refers to a distorted way of speaking - a deceitfulness which is said to come from a perversity, not just in how we speak, but in our very life and character. This fits the biblical description of the ungodly man - whose mouth speaks out of the abundance of what fills his heart. Perverse lifestyle equals a perverse mouth. The problem here is that when this man speaks - it crushes the spirit. The word for crush here is "seber" and it means to cause destruction and ruin. It means a fracture or a breach. When a man speaks in this perverse way - it is like a fracture in a leg or a breach in a dam. It causes great ruin in people's lives. Whereas the godly man's tongue brings a healing and a remedy - the perverse man's tongue only causes more damage in our already damaged world. Think of the number of times someone spoke perversely to you - and the destruction that such talk brings. Some might think it prudish to avoid such talk - but if you've watched the coarsening of our culture in the last 30 years - you know that such perverse speech only weakens our society. Even worse is the perversity of those who deceive with their perverted speech. Lies only bring destruction in the end - and the way that it crushes a spirit when the truth is learned is devastating. Thus, the perverse man crushes people's spirits.
We've seen this several times in the book of Proverbs. The mouth and the tongue are very powerful things. The words we speak really do matter. As was said at the beginning of this meditation - those words truly can make or break a person's spirit. Be wise and use your tongue as a tree of life. Speak healing words to others and guard your tongue so that it is not loosed in talk that will crush the spirit of those who listen.