Friday, February 19, 2010

Have you injured anyone with words today?

We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 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. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.(James 3:2-12)

This passage in the letter of James calls our attention to our speach. When we speak we need to be conscious of whether we build up the body of Christ or do we tear down the body of Christ. Do we help others to live, or do we kill them with our words? Sometimes being negative or gossiping are just bad habits we let ourselves get into. We sometimes speak without even thinking. It seems to be a matter of being unaware. Are we aware of our words? Do we think about them before we say them? Do we stop to reflect before saying something that can cause others hurt and shame? Do we destroy another's character because we can? All things to think about.
As children we may have said "sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can never hurt me". On the contrary, the bones will eventually heal, but the names can cause pain that will last a lifetime. Words can end relationships and drive people apart and keep them that way.
I think it would be better to stop and think about what to say before it is said. It is better to just get into the habit of speaking positively about people. This becomes a choice for love rather than hate. Even if you feel that the person does not deserve it, give them the benefit of the doubt and be kind.
I try to choose my words carefully when I write this blog every day. Perhaps I don't always succeed, but I try.
Choose to build up, stay away from tearing down. Choose your words carefully.

Peace and love,


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

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