“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” Proverbs 12:18
I was recently in a very uncomfortable situation. A comment had been made about one of my children and it hurt me greatly. My first reaction was to call this person out on the unfair remark and defend my baby, even if the words I spoke were harsh. In fact, I wanted my words to be harsh. I wanted to inflict the same feeling that I had just felt. Remembering an encounter years ago in which I had to apologize for some words that I spoke in the heat of the moment, I decided to remain silent.
Whoever came up with the little verse “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me” was wrong. And it’s definitely not biblical. The Bible tells us that our words ‘pierce like swords’, and that we can choose to bless or curse someone with what we say. A word spoken in the moment in the midst of an argument can never be taken back. Sure, we can apologize, but once it’s said, it can’t be unsaid. Having the choice, why we would ever choose words that would tear someone down? We have the power to build them up, we can empower them to reach for big dreams, to encourage them to do something hard, or pursue something that may seem out of reach.
When I was in school I had big plans, I wanted to be a lawyer. I feel that I would’ve rocked it, I can argue and remember facts like nobody’s business. This can come in handy, but most times it’s to my detriment because I can also remember most of the nasty things that I’ve heard said to me. Anyway, I went into grade 7 ready to be saturated with knowledge, yes, I was going to graduate in six years with the biggest brain our school had ever produced. In our very first homeroom of the year my dreams were shattered when I announced to the entire class that I wanted to be a lawyer in answer to the question posed by my teacher. The words I heard echoed in my head and caused me to walk away from that, ”You’ll never make it as a lawyer!” I was embarrassed. I was hurt. Years later I can look back on that situation and think that I should not have listened but realistically I think we all value the opinions of people we hold in high esteem and the things they say can influence our thinking.
I want my words to be wise, spoken with love, received with joy. We should leave each other feeling better than we did when first meeting. I love it when like minded people get together and spend time encouraging and cheering each other on. Speaking life into dry places. Maybe even confirming things that God is speaking into their lives because of the obedience to speak what He plants in our hearts. I feel even hard conversations that really need to be had can go well if we’re praying for wisdom and reaching for things that heal and not harm. Bring correction and not condemnation. Words that inspire change and give life.
Psalm 19:14 says “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer”. If we keep this verse close in our mind and weigh everything we say by it, being sure that we are speaking from a pure heart with good motivation, we will please God and be a light to people.