Like it or not, I believe we carry around careless and unkind things spoken over us in our hearts…and even in our bodies. As I was growing up, I was often called “stupid” and “clumsy,” and to this day, though people can say a lot of things and not upset me, if someone utters either of those words, I have a strong emotional and physical reaction. You see, labels create a negative imprint on our spirits, and when we’re identified by them in any season of life, they continue to haunt us. Even as an adult, I’ve laid awake at night on several occasions thinking about vitriol spewed by a total stranger — someone who doesn’t even know me — and I’ve wondered why I should care. But words are weighty. In fact, as I’ve pondered how to keep myself from wounding others with my tongue, I’ve learned that though it’s tempting to give voice to anger and frustration in the moment, it’s best to step back from the threshold of raw emotion until the Lord helps me to formulate a thoughtful response. While this doesn’t necessarily alter the strength of my feelings, it does ensure that my reaction won’t harm anyone else.
My friend, use your words to heal, not to wound. If you find yourself reacting emotionally to something or someone, hold your tongue and ask Jesus to help you before you respond. Even if it means saying nothing at all, choose mercy over mistreatment, and know that your utterance has the power to positively or negatively impact someone’s future. Because you are Jesus’ ambassador on the earth, He has called you to give voice to divine truth that is seasoned liberally with compassion and grace. Think before you speak, check your heart, and let your lovingly potent words have an eternal impact.