“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”
…and there goes one of the most popular and well-known lies of all time.
Over the past few years I have learned that the most powerful part of your body is not your eyes that can see incredible things, it’s not your back that can carry heavy burdens, and it’s not your feet that can bring you to places you’ve only dreamed of.
No, it’s that little tongue that’s inside of each one of our mouths.
Why does the tongue, which seems so insignificant compared to the rest of our body have the most power?
Because it produces words.
Words that according to Proverbs 18:21 have the power for life and death.
Once spoken out loud, words can never be taken back.
They can be forgiven but they can never be ignored.
These words, when spoken with kindness, can bring healing and hope to the heart of a broken person.
They can encourage and they can uplift a person who is discouraged about life.
But when spoken out of anger, out of jealousy, and out of pain these words can damage a person more than a sword ever will, for the wound that it leaves is one that cannot be covered up with a bandage or a prescription pill.
No, words often replay in a person’s mind and stay in their heart forever no matter how much they try to forget.
Which is why God says that He counts every single word that is spoken out of a person’s mouth, because He knows the damage that words carelessly spoken can leave.
“But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.” (Matthew 12:36)
They leave behind broken hearts, anxious minds, and shattered dreams.
They break a person more than sticks and stones ever will.
And though recovery may come, it doesn’t come quickly or easily.
I can count so many times when my perspective changed and my attitude was affected because of words that were spoken to me or about me.
Words of love always encouraged me to live my life faithfully and courageously for God.
And insulting words left me feeling broken and hopeless, wondering how I could be positive again.
We think words are so innocent and can be easily taken back, but they can’t be.
And yet so often we speak without even thinking.
We never take the time to realize how those seemingly innocent little words we say can hurt a person.
How our inability to hold back unnecessary words, unnecessary gossip, unnecessary judgment can bring a person so much pain.
And so we continue to speak without a second thought.
We keep on unknowingly discouraging lives and hurting hearts.
It has been my prayer that as believers we will be careful when it comes to using our words.
That, rather than gossiping about other people’s issue, we will pray for them and encourage them.
That, rather than always saying the first thing that comes to our mind, we will know how to keep our mouth shut, lest it opens up old wounds and scars hearts.
That we will use wisdom and self-control about what will come out our mouths daily.
Today, before you say something to someone, ask yourself these questions:
How would I feel if the very same thing was spoken to or about me?
Will these words bring hope and encouragement or will they bring hopelessness, judgment, and harm?
Will these words destroy or will they build that person up?
And once you answer these questions honestly, you will know if you should open your mouth and speak, or if you will have to leave some words unsaid.
Lord Jesus, So often we use our words and we don’t even realize the impact of what we say in a person’s life. Sometimes we don’t purposefully try to hurt a person, but when we speak without thinking that’s exactly what we do. I pray that you help each one of us guard our mouths and control our tongues with wisdom today so that every word we speak will be one that will bring more of your light, your truth, and your love into the world. That we will use them to bring blessing instead of burdens into the lives of others, and that we will leave unnecessary words unsaid. Thank you for your wisdom and guidance.
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