When Mary Southerland came down with a raging fever, her doctor suspected viral meningitis. ‘How long have you had the solid white coating on your tongue?’ he asked. Mary was puzzled. Why did that matter? The doctor continued, ‘The health of the tongue is a very strong indicator of the health of the entire body.’ And spiritually speaking, the same principle applies.
‘The mouth speaks the things that are in the heart. Good people have good things in their hearts… so they say good things… evil people have evil in their hearts, so they say evil things.’ (Matthew 12:34–35 NCV) The problem is more serious than the tongue: it lies in your heart, your attitude, your outlook, and your temperament.
Southerland continues: ‘The tongue is a spiritual thermometer that reflects the condition of the heart… Words are power tools that can build… encourage… destroy and cause confusion. We have all been hurt and even defeated by words spoken in anger or words rising out of a wounded heart… If my words are boastful, my heart is insecure. If my words are filthy, my heart is impure and if my words are critical, my heart is filled with pride and anger… Solomon said, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver” (Proverbs 25:11 KJV)… The right word, spoken at the right time and in the right way can bring order in the midst of confusion and light on a very dark path. “Good people know the right thing to say.” (Proverbs 10:32 NCV) God gives us spiritual “radar” so we can assess a situation and speak the right word for that circumstance. We just need to check the “radar screen” before we speak.’