Each fiery word that spewed from his lips burned a hole in her heart. The hurt she felt intensified with every sentence-bomb he hurled…
His joy died instantly when she uttered those toxic words. Pain and sadness coursed through his being as she continued to rant…
Who said words don’t hurt???
The above synopses could fit in any scenario in any relationship; between husband and wife, father and daughter, siblings, pastor and church member, friends, and the list is endless. The fact is we inflict pain with our words. It may be unintentional, but more often than should, it is intended. “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18). Our words can build as well as destroy. However, we seem to so easily reach for word combinations that aim to destroy.
Take for example these combinations of words:
“I knew you would fail.”
“You are useless and good for nothing.”
“I can’t stand the sight of you.”
“You’re so annoying.”
And there are even worse combinations. You and I can think of many! But take a look at these subtle ones:
“I don’t think you did your best at all.”
“My-o-my you’re getting fat.”
“You need prayer; your situation seems hopeless.”
“I didn’t enjoy that meal, next time use a bit more salt and butter.”
I strongly believe in speaking the truth, but taking precautions when delivering facts can make the difference between words that insult and words that encourage. Proverbs 18:21 says that death and life are in the power of the tongue. James 3:10 tells us that out of the same mouth flows blessing and cursing. Obviously, the product of our lips stems from a personal decision.
We can choose to build up our brothers and sisters with our words, instead of breaking them down. We can choose life over death and blessing over cursing. Making these decisions will take effort and determination, especially when we’re angry. We have to be conscious of the words we exchange with others on a daily basis. It is so easy to throw word stones, it becomes almost second nature. But let us humbly put down the stones, graciously bite our tongues, and prayerfully choose words that inspire positivity.
“Venomous words poison a cheerful spirit.” (Amelia Brown)