It's funny what can make my mind unsettled sometimes. Tonight it has to do with the words we use on each other so often; flippant words that can cause much pain with barely a thought put into their formation. As a person who takes words very seriously (and very much at face value), I find that I often agonize over those situations where I may have hurt someone with my own words, intentional or not. There are times where a word comes out before we can stop it, and we move into immediate and intentional damage control.
Often though it's a much deeper problem- we use words that are hate filled and painful- and we throw them out without a care. We assume they will be a momentary jolt on our subject of attack, but actually they cut deeper than we can imagine. The funny part about it is that we're most likely to do it to the ones we care most about. The other night I was kept up by screaming match in the apartment above- horrible painful words thrown back and forth between a couple. I've seen siblings say the most terrible things to each other, not even thinking of the consequences. I've heard kids spout off horrible things about their parents - and parents do the same likewise. We so easily throw out terrible painful words, and yet I bet most often we don't really mean them from our heart. When we do, that's obviously a different ballgame altogether, but most often we don't. It's just an easy way to express our emotion; whether it be anger, fear, jealousy, or just plain hurt. James 3:5 teaches "Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark."
There is power in our words, and sometimes it ends up being the power to destroy when all we wanted to do was make a point. It's something to consider when we're angry; is it really worth destroying the other person one word at a time? No, one word may not destroy in itself, but maybe one word piled on to someone else's word piled on to someone else's word and so on will become so crushing that our word will be the one that causes pain beyond what the person can bear. Sometimes the most tragic consequences come from that one final word.
So tonight I'm pondering... First, am I wise with my words? Does my tongue pierce like a sword or bring healing (Proverbs 12:18). Second, how do I as a caregiver and a friend uphold that and teach that to others. How do I hold someone to account in a way that is loving and full of grace, but still firm enough in the truth to actually impact their actions.
Tonight I'll continue to ponder.....