Scripture Reading: Proverbs 12:18: Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
The words that are spoken to us by our family, friends, co-workers, or complete strangers can either build us up or they can tear us down. Words are powerful and they can have a lasting effect that can be positive or negative. Most of us prefer to be around people that have encouraging words to say to us, words that make us feel loved and appreciated. However, we all come across people who just don’t have a kind word to say and we must learn how to respond in a wise manner.
All of us have had to respond to someone who has said harsh words to us. We don’t always respond in the best way because we get mad, upset, offended and we want to strike back. I have known people that actually enjoy arguing and getting into conflicts. They are happiest when they have a feud going.Proverbs 15:1 says: A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
I heard a mother of two young children recently get very upset in a store over the price of an item. The mother was getting visibly upset at the poor clerk who obviously had no control over the price of the item. The mother started using language that you would not expect a mother to use. Then she turned to her children and told them to repeat the same offensive, vulgar phrase to the young cashier. The kids obeyed their mother and they stormed out the door, with the mother still yelling obscenities.
Words hurt, and sometimes they hurt badly. This poor cashier did nothing to deserve this onslaught of obscenities, and to her credit, she remained polite and as calm as possible. I tried to reassure the cashier that this woman probably came into the store mad, and that unfortunately, the cashier was the first one that she came into contact with. I’m not sure that really helped.
Paul, in Ephesians 4:29 writes, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”As Christians, we should not only stop using offensive language, but we must use words that will build each other up.
James 1:19-20 reminds us, Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.