“Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to him: ‘Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.’” Hosea 14:2
Strawberries and apples, blueberries and peaches; fruit is truly a gift from God! Its sweet explosion of juice within the mouth is a treat worthy of its name.
Fruit is always the result of action.
A tree grows (action) and in its season produces fruit (result).
Our actions, every one of them, also produce results; fruit. Some are sweet and others….not so much. In Hosea 14, we are encouraged to use our words carefully. To use them to ask the Lord for forgiveness and to offer the “fruit of our lips”.
In this context it means to give worship to the one who deserves it – God. We are to speak (action) praise and worship (result). This is worthy and right action. But is there and instance when the action of our lips does not produce worthy results?
Ecclesiastes 10:12 says this:
-“Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips.”
Our words have power – power to build, power to encourage….and power to destroy! A carelessly placed word can be the difference between life and death. The life or death of a friendship, a marriage, respect from your child…even the life or death of a ministry. The bible tells us that we are to use our words for exhortation (to build up), not to tear down as so often we do.
As someone who is very wordy in both writing and speech…I am too familiar with words ability to reap a path of destruction. It doesn’t matter whether what you say is true or not. If it is not given in a spirit of love and kindness, with the intent to build up and encourage, it can single handedly destroy any good that you had intended.
It is never a trees intent to produce bad fruit; but as any of us who has a fruit tree in their yard knows, if it is not carefully tended and kept from pests and disease…you inevitably will reap bad fruit. The same is true of the things that come out of our mouths. If we do not carefully tend to our hearts and minds which feed our words, the results can be less than sweet and mean the difference between life and death for the recipient of them.
I have myself noticed a difference in the reactions that I receive from my kids that are directly related to the way the words are delivered to them. If I spew with judgment and condemnation, I receive hateful looks and sometimes responsive hateful actions. But if I guide with love and concern, the resulting actions are usually much different.
In the past, I have had situations that became completely out of control because of a few careless words that snowballed into MANY more careless words. I often wonder if those situations would have had different results if I had control over the words that I spoke. I venture to say that they would have.
But the past is past….so what will you do with the future?
Speak words of life…
The choice is ours – to affect real change in our lives and our relationships.
Be a life giver.
Reap sweet results from right actions!
Soli Deo Gloria!