A wife is crushed as her husband freezes her with the silent treatment. A husband is bruised as his wife carps and criticizes him. A child crumbles as bullies isolate and shame her. An employee falsely praises his boss. Whether it’s the silent tongue, the critical tongue, the bullying tongue, or the flattering tongue, the Bible has one description of them all: “A perverse tongue crushes the spirit” (Prov. 15:4; NIV). If I’ve just described your tongue and its fracturing power, then you need a spiritual glossectomy and transplant.
The good news is that this can be done by the work of the Holy Spirit rather than by the knife and needle of a surgeon. By God’s grace, you can learn to use your old tongue in new ways, in ways that give life rather than crush it. The same verse in Proverbs says, “A gentle tongue is a tree of life.” This “gentle tongue” (or “soothing tongue”; NIV) is literally a “healing tongue.” Let’s take a closer look at this healthy tongue.