Sometimes things just come out wrong; that is, out of our mouths. We say the wrong thing or say something in the wrong way. Regardless, the words that flow from our mouths are heard by others in a negative light. I think most people can remember times in which they wished they had not said something. We’ve all had experiences in which we would like to take back our words.
We also realize that words can cause pain. The old saying of “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” just does not stand the test of experience. We have all been hurt by the words of another just as we have hurt others with our words. Likewise, hurtful words can sometimes take a long time to heal. Richelle. E. Goodrich in her book, Smile Anyway: Quotes, Verse, and Grumblings for Every Day of the Year writes:
“Silly words cause trills
because they’re ludicrous and funny.
Happy words paint endless smiles
and swallow troubles whole.
Thoughtful words are thus
because they make the day feel sunny.
But hurtful words are such
that pierce the heart and weigh the soul.”
Indeed, words matter. The words we choose to use and how we use them can impact others for both the good and the bad. Perhaps this was the thinking of the writer of Proverbs in the Old Testament where it is written, “To watch over mouth and tongue is to keep out of trouble.” The writer contends that we must watch over our mouths and tongues as we seek to communicate with others, because there is power, both good and bad, in the spoken word.
In his letter to the church at Ephesus, the apostle Paul reminded these early Christians about using their words for the benefit of others. In Ephesians 4:29 Paul 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 a people of faith, our words should always be filtered by God’s grace. Do our words reflect the character and nature of our Lord? Words matter and when we season them in the Spirit of our Lord, they are more likely to build others up, encourage others, and communicate love. So, let us choose wisely. Words soaked in grace and love which seek to bring healing, encouragement, peace, and kindness to the lives of others. When we allow God’s Spirit to watch over our mouths, then our mouths will bring forth the words of our Lord and in the way of our Lord.