Words. They can accuse or assure. Lead or mislead. Encourage or discourage. If you have ever been deeply wounded by someone’s words, I don’t need to tell you what you already know—that’s not something you would like to repeat in someone else’s life.
Thank you to my Facebook friends who shared quotes about the potential effect of words when I was working on my last blog post about extending grace to those who have hurt us with their words. I compiled these sayings into a list so I could share them with you. Here they are:
“if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”
“You know someone loves you if your name is safe in their mouth.”
“Be sure your words are kind and sweet. You never know which ones you may have to eat.”
“Boys flying kites can pull in their white-winged birds. But you can’t do that when you’re flying words. Thoughts unexpressed may sometimes fall back dead. But God Himself can’t kill them once they’ve been said. (Will Carlton)
“[Words are] like putting toothpaste back in the tube. Once said words can’t be taken back.”
One friend shared this wonderful article by Jack Wellman, “Top 7 Bible Verses About The Power of Words.”
You only have to be on the receiving end to prove the wisdom of the Bible. Wounds from hurtful words is one gift I don’t want to pass forward. How do I keep myself from verbal missteps? My battle plan has been to commit three key Bible verses to memory so when hasty words lurk behind my lips, the Holy Spirit can remind me what God’s Word says to do.
“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.” – Ephesians 4:29
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” – Colossians 4:5
The times when my tongue gets me in trouble most is when I want to react to someone else’s hurtful words. Here’s the verse that helps me stuff my reactions:
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15;1
Our words are to be full of grace, encouraging, gentle, and wise. Like me, you may feel you fall short many times. It’s comforting to know that the words God speaks will always be the right words; words of wisdom, conviction, and truth.
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” – Psalm 119:105
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12
“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” – John 17:17
His Word can guide you to say the right words and you can depend on the Holy Spirit who lives within you to bring His Word to your mind at the right moment so that through His Word, you can impart grace to those who hear.