How many times have you put your foot in your mouth?
Meaning, how many times have you said something without thinking and then immediately wished you could take it back? I personally have done this more times than I can count! I was especially bad when I was a young kid…you could say I was a little too honest with people about my observations of them, and I didn’t learn until later (especially after a few spankings) that this was considered rude and hurtful.
Even as an adult, I struggle immensely with how I speak to certain people. Since high school, I would pray to God Psalm 141:3, “Set a watch O Lord before my mouth. Keep the door of my lips.” As the years passed by, I really thought that I was getting better at this, but since becoming pregnant I feel like my patience and grace towards people is at all-time low.
There are times when I really have to either bite my tongue or walk away when interacting with certain individuals when I am upset. In the moment I get so emotional and offended, and it is SUCH a struggle to not allow my feelings to run the show and make matters worse. Unfortunately, I have not been victorious each time, and I feel so guilty afterwards…
Getting in the last word might feel good at the time.
But the realization afterward that you hurt someone with your words will really weigh on your heart like a pile of bricks.
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. | Proverbs 12:18
If you are like me, you may have winced when you read that first half of the verse, but it is so true! Our words are incredibly powerful, and when we use them to attack people, it is literally like you are jabbing them repeatedly with a sword—not physically, but emotionally.
Unlike physical wounds which typically heal over time, those unseen wounds can really fester and grow if left “untreated,” leading to resentment and broken relationships.
That is not what we as children of God are meant to do! We are here to build up and heal just as Christ did. He above all else knew exactly the impact of words. In fact, He SPOKE the creation into being. He also SPOKE and performed all kinds of miracles, including calming the seas and raising the dead. When He was mocked and ridiculed, He could have spoken words of judgment, but He kept silent instead. How many times did He tell people, “Your sins are forgiven”? Even when He was on the cross, He told the Father, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Through His words and through His actions, Jesus brought healing and restoration to the whole world, and He calls us to do the same.
We are to encourage one another, intercede for each other, and speak words of truth in LOVE. I emphasize that last part because we so easily misunderstand being critical and making comments on everyone and everything as “speaking truth.” It is actually not very loving, and in the end the main purpose is just to make the critic feel better about themselves.
What are ways to use our words in a more positive way?
First, ask God to help you to tame your tongue.
Second, this seems so simple, but think BEFORE you speak! You will avoid so much heartache by doing that.
Third, ask God to bring opportunities and the right words to say to help and encourage people.
The words you say leave a lasting impact, so let’s not speak words of destruction but words that will build and restore.