What a question! I know you’re not a violent person. And in your wildest dreams you couldn’t imagine killing someone unless it was for self-defense or to protect a loved one.
But what if you could be slaying someone in another way?
What if you could be slowly killing someone with your words?
“Oh, they’re just words.”
“You know I didn’t mean it.”
“You didn’t take me seriously, did you?”
“Toughen up. Get over it.”
Have you ever made those excuses? We’ve all said things that we regret. But when you’re the one delivering the verbal or written shots, it’s easy to minimize the impact. They’re just intended to be rubber bullets.
Being on the receiving end of critical, harsh or cruel words feels a lot more lethal. Almost like something has pierced your heart. Unkind words reverberate in a person’s soul and memory, sometimes for a lifetime. And words intended to inflict pain can cause the recipient to place a protective shield over their heart to avoid further injury.
The wisest man who ever lived (Solomon) wrote:
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”
He was so right. Our words can be used to encourage and affirm and to help someone grow and blossom. To give life.
But our words can also bring death and destruction to relationships and to another’s self worth.
As we begin a new year, let’s resolve to be more mindful of our words – both written and spoken.
Cut the sarcasm.
Don’t send the snarky text message.
Bite your tongue.
And remember that Jesus promised: “Everyone will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every careless word they have spoken.” (Matthew 12:36) Every word? Yikes.
So write that affirming letter. Use your words to give life, not death.
Take the high road for the people in your world and for yourself.
Be mindful of the immense, unbridled power of your words.
Leave some things unsaid!
“Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.”