About how death and life depend on the tongue


«Death and life are in the power of the tongue» (Proverbs 18:21).

Did not our Lord Himself confirm this when He said that for every empty word men will give an answer before the Dread Judgment? Didn’t He explicitly say: «But I tell you, that of every idle word men speak, they shall give account on the Day of Judgment. For by your words, you shall be justified and by your words, you shall be condemned» (St. Matthew 12: 36-37). Whoever is justified will receive life. Whoever is condemned will receive death. Therefore, do you see how life and death are in the power of the tongue? The Apostle James says: «For in many things we all offend. If anyone does not offend in word, he is a perfect man, able also to lead round by a bridle the whole body» (St. James 3:2).

Truly, great is the unexplored mystery of the word and the influence of the word cannot be measured nor estimated. Today the word of men can be carried by artificial instruments from one end of our planet to the other. A word spoken by the tongue in America can be heard by the ear in Europe. Is not this a picture of the All-hearing God? O my brethren, we cannot whisper anything here to the earth that the heavens are not going to hear. Our every word comes before the assembly of the angels of God. Hades receives our every evil word and retains it as a guarantee of our eternal death and Paradise receives every good word and retains it as a guarantee of our eternal life. Truly, does the Old Testament sage wisely speaks and promptly reminds us with the words that: «Death and life are in the power of the tongue.»

O Lord our Savior, eternal Word of God, help us to bridle our tongue so that it does not speak to our destruction. Help us to speak with the tongue only that which is according to Your holy will and that which is for our eternal salvation in the life eternal.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.

(Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich, The Prologue from Ohrid)

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