What we say matters. The little ditty we learn as kids that says "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" is a lie straight from the pits of hell. Words cut deep. Words once spoken, cannot be taken back. They leave invisible scars. Scars that can be re-opened unintentionally, carelessly, at the whim of a mean-spirited person. They last forever, running over and over in our brains until we begin to believe the awful words that were spoken.
As a counselor I've worked with people that have been abused. Horrible cases of severe beatings, emotional torment and sexual assault. Would it surprise you that I've also heard from these same people that they would rather take a physical beating than the emotional/verbal abuse any day.
Think about it...you can see the results of a physical assault. Bruises, cuts, wounds that ooze and fester. We go to the doctor, get medicine and put bandages on those. You see that hurt and you feel for the person, perhaps you even want to comfort them. You can continue to treat the wound and watch the process of healing. In a verbal assault, the emotional trauma is internal.
You cannot see the scars of the verbal dart to the soul. The bleeding, oozing, festering is deep and it grows deeper and redder with each swift slice of the tongue. Psalm 64:3 says "they sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows." It goes on in Proverbs 12:18 to say the "words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Wounds left by our own words can be re-opened and no one is the wiser while the victim is left writhing in pain and completely broken.
You may not think of yourself as an abuser, but if you've ever landed a punch to the gut with a string of sarcastic prattle, then my friend join the club. You committed verbal abuse. We are all guilty.
Our words, yours and mine, can be a poisonous venom that works its way throughout a person's system until they are completely and utterly destroyed OR our words can be a blessed note of praise that works its way throughout the person's system adding a note to the melody of their life song. Psalm 19:14 says "let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer".
So remember your words matter. Guard your tongue. Think before you speak. Psalm 141:3 says "set a guard over my mouth, Lord, keep watch over the door of my lips." Also Proverbs 21:23 says "those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity."
The spoken word is powerful. James 3:5 & 6 says "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 body, sets the whole course of one's life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell." In 1 Peter 3:10 it says "for, whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech."
A harsh word spoken in anger. A frustrated insult. A sarcastic comment. Colossians 3:8 says "but now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these; anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips."
Parents your words can be a huge boost to your child's self esteem. Proverbs 15:4 says "the soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit."
Husbands/wives your words can help your spouse feel valued. Colossians 4:6 says "let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt so that you may know how to answer everyone."
Employee your kind words can diffuse an irate customer. Proverbs 15:1 & 2 says that "a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. the tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly."
Teacher your words can be an encouragement to inspire a generation. Ephesians 4:29 says to "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."
You can go through life shooting poison darts and spreading venom or you can add notes to the symphony of someone's life song. I don't know about you but I want to make music!
This is one of my favorite songs by Aaron Shust. I thought it was appropriate.