The words of our mouth … can be quite devastating, damaging, hurtful … or they can be wonderful, healing, and beautiful. I want to share with you some of the things I have learned … sometimes the hard way:
- Words can change the course of our lives forever.
- We can’t undo or take the words back that we have spoken, no matter how badly we wish we could take those words back.
- Words spoken can break our heart so badly that our heart actually hurts.
- We can knife someone with this sharp device (our tongue). Maybe we should take the time to “clean” it more (our mouth) before we use it as a weapon.
- Sometimes heartfelt words spoken sincerely can be so uplifting, encouraging, wonderful, and delightful.
I am challenging myself to use the words of my mouth more carefully. Maybe I have gotten a little better at this as I “mature in age”, but the jury is still out on that one. I’m a “Jersey girl” and so in my younger years, if I had a particular opinion on a matter, BOOM, out it came from my lips – no filter, no matter who it took down or hurt. But years later, I’ve learned (hopefully) to choose my words a bit more wisely, and thoughtfully consider the other person in all of this. I mean, does it really matter what WE THINK, if it’s going to truly hurt the other person? I don’t think so in the whole scheme of things.
We can “repair” the damage we have done… but it may take quite a while, and it could be a very long journey.
A couple of thoughts:
- Take three deep breaths to speak when you are angry. Sometimes our words cut, hurt, offend, and break hearts. A few seconds could make the difference and allow your brain to re-engage before speaking.
- Give yourself time to digest and think before speaking. Before you actually respond to something offensively spoken, or if someone’s words make you angry, digest what they are saying first. Thinking, you may identify the underlying cause of someone else’s anger of your own.
- Sometimes silence, really is best. I think, in some situations, we have to just walk away from the matter and/or person and realize it is what it is – it’s not worth arguing over, especially if you realize it’s probably going to make the situation worse. As the saying goes, “Sometimes we need to just agree to disagree.”
- Before you speak, think whether it is going to add value to the conversation. Are we going to just “bark” back with cutting or hateful words? Or are they going to be thoughtful, carefully spoken words to uplift or state our peace calmly?
This scripture verse gets me every time:
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8 (NAS)
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1 (ESV)
“Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.” (Proverbs 21:23)
It really can be a tough world out there. Sometimes it just makes life tougher when we say hurtful or mean things to someone, even if we don’t mean to. I am trying to do better – I often need to put myself in the other person’s shoes to do this. And of course, keep my fat trap shut more! Sometimes I really imagine someone just sewing up my lips!
For now, I’m still a work in progress, and I think I always will be … but I am trying to get a little better at this – one conversation at a time….