There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
I happened to be walking behind two elderly people the other day and I was shocked by what I heard. Usually, when I see two older people together, I find the sight charming and I imagine all of the years and memories they must have lived together. She was walking in front of him and as she opened a gate (that unfortunately opened out) she backed up into him and muttered, “Get out of my way you…” She continued to mutter expletives as she made her way to a seat and, as he held the gate for me to walk through, I looked at his sad eyes and was overwhelmed by a sense of heartbreak.
Had this sweet old man listened to her words of wrath their entire married life? Had those coarse, vicious words and abuses turned an otherwise gentle man into a callous cynic? I cannot imagine thinking, never mind saying, such unkind words to my husband or anyone for that matter.
Hearing the violent language this lady used, reminded me that my words can either pour burning salt or soothing ointment onto a wound. Every conversation we have in a day serves either to help or hurt the person we’re talking to.
I believe it comes as a progression. We use anger to get our way in a small situation and, before we know it, we are using anger to get our way with everything. I believe the eventual result is just plain anger and selfishness.
The Bible describes the tongue as a fire. This is such a vivid example of what we are capable of doing to another person with such a powerful tool. With this instrument, we can trample on the feeble and ignite the opposition until all that is left is brokenness and ashes.
We are also told that our tongue can be a fresh spring; bringing water to the thirsty and washing clean the worn and dirty. Through our tongue, we administer the love of our Savior. We breathe the cool breeze of hope to the soul scorched by the afternoon sun. Our words can be the mortar that brings the support to rebuild a crumbled pile of bricks.
God has commanded us to be His vessels of love and truth. How did you use your words today? Did you use them to build-up and encourage? Or did you trample and destroy in order to get your own way or state your peace?
Today, I challenge you to be quiet. As thoughts run through your head, evaluate your motivation and the outcome of what will be said. Guard your tongue for the sake of the souls you will encounter.