“The tongue can kill or nourish life” Proverbs 18:21
Most people do not realize the power of their words and how they can be used for great good or for evil.
Not long ago, a neighbor carelessly and without any idea of harm said some negative words about me that for quite some time have had a profound impact upon my thinking. It has been a warning to me about the consequences of the words I use toward others. The harmful words of this neighbor affected my self-image. It has taken time but I have been able to put it aside. Someone told me, “You don’t count your critics, you weigh them.” When I came to realize that the neighbor was being unwise and careless in her comments, it no longer had any significance in my life.
I got to thinking about that incident when I read about a young college girl who returned home for Christmas after her first semester at a university. It had been an extremely difficult time for her both socially and academically. She really had no knowledge of what worldliness looked like in a college setting.
Because of loneliness and the fear of being rejected by her peers, she fell into a number of temptations that went against her convictions. One morning she decided to meet with her pastor and struggled to get out the words in her cry for help.
When she arrived, her pastor was happy to see her and wanted to hear all about what she had been doing during her time at college. She blurted out that she was a complete mess and that between the alcohol and sex she could no longer stand herself. He responded to her with “What? You, the most stable and mature Christian girl in our church? You should be ashamed of yourself.” The girl immediately ran out the door crying.
Often times, Christians lose their opportunity to be redemptive because of their judgementalism. Sometimes our outbursts of rejection can drive people completely away and further into sin. Before we speak, we should consider our words wisely and think ahead to the impact they might make on the life of another.
“Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and healing to the bones” Proverbs 16:24