“Of all the weapons of destruction that man could invent, the most terrible-and the most powerful-was the word. Daggers and spears left traces of blood; arrows could be seen at a distance. Poisons were detected in the end and avoided. But the word managed to destroy without leaving clues.” ~ Paulo Coelho
We all must guard our lips. The sins that impact and hurt the most often have a mere origination of breath passing over our vocal chords to formulate words. Many of us were taught as children that ‘words can never hurt me’. I think that was a coping mechanism to deal with the harsh things that other children might say to us. But didn’t we all know it was a lie? Words can carve deep wounds that we spend a lifetime forgetting.
Still, they keep coming. Words of accusation. Words of judgment. Words of gossip. Words of evaluating others. Words of self-condemnation. Words of criticism. Words of destruction.
Another lie I’ve heard is that our words cannot be gossip if they happen to be true. Gossip is not determined by the truth of a matter (often gossip is untrue, exaggerated with each new telling, but not always).
Some things are necessary for us to really pay attention to the destructive power of our own words:
*Before you say it, ask yourself if it meets the standard of the Golden Rule. Would you be OK if someone said the same about you?
*Before you say it, ask yourself if it is a loving thing to do to say these words. Sometimes someone needs to be confronted about a sin in their life. Even in that difficult circumstance, it is the loving thing to do to express your concern to them. It is not the loving thing to do to express your concern to everyone else except them.
*Before you say it, ask yourself if your motives are godly. You may sometimes have to say something to defend someone who cannot defend themselves. You may sometimes have to speak in order to correct a lie that’s being told. But in speaking, make sure that you’re not falling into the same trap of gossip that others are.
*Before you say it, ask yourself if you are seeking good for the one you are talking about… or if you are seeking evil.
I do not know many people who aren’t struggling with this … so we should all prayerfully consider whether we are blessing or cursing one another with our words.
Thanks for reading, JD.