“To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!”(Proverbs 15:23)
It has always been articulated “be careful what you say.” Why? Because words are powerful and in them have the ability to “calm the savage beast,” and/or create an “atomic bomb” effect in relationships between people.
I remember as a child hearing many children sing the song that “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”
That song may have been popular for all of us to sing as children growing up, but on the other hand, nothing indicated in the lyrics rings true! Words do hurt and they can affect even the “best of us.”
For example, if you have a child that has been raised by very supportive and loving parents, that constantly articulate and show love towards that particular child, that child is more likely than not to grow up healthy and with a positive outlook on life and themselves. Why? Because of the over-showering of love, support and positive communication from both parents.
But, on the other hand, if you have another child that is constantly inundated with negative jargon, unsupportive and unloving parents, they are more than likely to become rebellious and “act out.” Why? Because they have been given negative feedback about who they are and thus they internalize this to be true!
That is why it is imperative that we “speak life and not death” (Proverbs 18:21) over our children, our loved ones, as well as others.
Many marriages and other relationships have been destroyed over harsh and negative words spoken by either person in the “heat of the moment.”
People have said things to each other that have brutally wounded each other and many still feel the effects of it today!
The Bible tells us empathically that “A harsh word stirs up anger but a soft answer turns away wrath (Proverbs 15:1).”
We can all take a lesson from scripture regarding how we should adequately handle each word that proceeds from our mouths. We are more effective in our communication with each other when we take time to prepare, pray and ask God for wisdom to say the right things, to respond in love and to not be so quick to speak but open to hear.
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” (James 1:19, KJV)
We deal with enough problems and difficulties every day to last a lifetime. If anything, we should embrace positive feedback when we receive it from others.
Take for instance, if a person has just lost their loved one, it helps tremendously to have people all around them that exemplifies love and concern for that individual. It also helps to speak soothing and sympathetic words to that person. What helps even more is to have someone that have been where they are and is offering words of comfort and support in a time when they need it most.
Don’t ever underestimate the power of spoken words. Again, they have the power to heal or to wound. I would much rather be on the side of the “healing aspect” of words rather than the “negative affects” of words.
My prayer is that God will help all of us to be more wise, discerning and careful in our usage of words and how we relate to each other.
Even as we minister and witness to people all around the world, may we seek the Lord and ask for the power of the Holy Spirit to take over our hearts and minds, and our tongues.
May God equip us to be more effective in our communication of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as well as our regular interactions with others every day.
When it is all said and done, may we be at peace in knowing that we have not hurt, but helped others through our words.