Words hurt and we should take care in how we use them.
I just finished watching Mary J. Blige and Taylor Swift sing “Doubt” on YouTube and as I read the comments section, I was taken aback by some of the comments posted there. Well, I really don’t know why I’m surprised because that isn’t something new to social media. People are now afforded the opportunity to spit their vitriol in whatever direction and much as they desire these days, due the anonymity the medium allows them.
There seems to be a level of meanness in today’s society. Its as though the meaner and more sarcastic you are, people applaud you as being “outspoken”, “tell it like it is” and above board. There seems to be no place for kindness, sensitivity and tact.
I’ve witnessed how an unkind word can ruin someone’s day, damage an already fragile self-esteem, become the basis for how someone evaluates them self. Conversations with peers, students I teach, people I’ve met throughout my lifetime, have expressed how things said to them at one point or the other, have affected them both positively and negatively.
Shouldn’t we then take care in what we say to each other?
Words have the power to create. The greatest example came from the creator who spoke this world into existence. Proverbs 18:21 states that “Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof”. We have such great power over another and over ourselves in what we speak into our lives and into the life of another. Our words sows seeds that bear fruits of different kinds – what fruits do you want to see being born in another or in yourself since when we speak, we produce? What kind of harvest are you looking for?
Words are a currency – when they are uttered, they have a value. We determine, by our thoughts,our heart and intent, what value the words will have. In most instances, when we spend our money, we take care in what we are investing it in. There are occasions, however, when we spend it carelessly on an item that we later regret. If we want our investment to give good returns, like money, we should take care in how we ‘invest’ our words, since once uttered, we can’t take them back. Unlike items we buy which we may be able to return, no amount of apologies can compensate for the hurt created when unkind words are uttered.
As a child growing up with many siblings (one of whom is my twin), I learnt to observe and take care before I speak. At some point in my life, I created the phrase “Remember what wisdom there is in silence”. I was cautioning myself to think before I spoke and also reminded myself to be observant. Too often we express an opinion without knowing the facts and cause hurt when it shouldn’t be.
Is it so hard to speak words that encourage, that are kind? In my culture we say “If you no have nothing good to say, shut your mouth!” (Jamaican Patios). Surely, even if we have to critique or correct, it can be done kindly! In Ephesians 4:29, we are encouraged to not let unwholesome talk come out of our mouths but instead choose to speak words that are “helpful for the building up of others according to their needs”and benefit those who listen. Yes, honesty is always the best policy but honesty doesn’t mean being unkind.
Stop throwing your words around carelessly. Let us choose to say that which uplifts and encourage.