When I was younger I heard this saying over and over again: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may never hurt me." I have no idea who came up with this saying, but it could not be further from the truth. Words hurt!
The Bible tells us the power our words hold. Proverbs 18:21 says that, Death and Life are in the power of the tongue. Our words can be damaging to someone else. The bible tells us in James 1:19, Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. I believe this will help us to listen so that we can respond properly and take the time to choose our words carefully.
Before we speak, we can run our words through a mental check list:
- Is this the right person: Should these words be addressed to this particular person?
- Is this the right time: Should it be said at this particular time? Will a later time be better? Are you angry and will your words only hurt or hinder if spoken at this time?
- Is it necessary: Does this need to be said? Would it be better left unsaid? Just because a statement is true does not mean it is necessary to say.
May God continue to help us use our words wisely.