I stood there and watched my son’s face deflate. In less than a second, my words had shot across the room, hit him in the chest, and let all the joy out of his soul. I wanted to take back what I had said, but there is nothing in this world that can stop a speeding word. All I could do was witness the damage I had done.
Ever done that?
This verse has been on my mind lately: “The tongue can bring life or death…” (Proverbs 18:21a). Am I pouring life into a person through my words? Or am I pouring bitter death?
You know that feeling, when a person pours life into you. Encouraging words, uplifting words, words that give you enough energy to move on, to take that next step. Your soul feels refreshed and ready to face the world again.
And I’m sure you know what deathly words feel like: disheartening, gut wrenching, like you were just stabbed in the chest and left on the ground. Instead of feeling empowered, everything looks dark and discouraging. And you can’t get those words out of your head, because they have been tattooed onto your heart.
Life. Death. All within the power of our tongue. Even the written word brings life or death. Emails, facebook posts, comments left on a blog.
There are times that truth must be told, but even then, the way it is phrased and the setting it is delivered in can bring life or death. Truthful words must come from a loving, humble heart. And delivered in such a way that shows respect to the person receiving it, even if they deserve less.
I am trying to be more careful with my own words. I want to bring life to people, encourage the broken, and speak hope to those in the dark. I don’t want to see a face again, stricken and wounded because I let my tongue fly without restraint.
After all, I may be the only one that speaks life into that person.