‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words cannot hurt me’. That is not true.
Words can create a profound impact. They can break us or make us. Hurts from careless and insensitive words spoken could last a lifetime.
Do our words heal or hurt?
Do our words sound positive or negative?
Some things may upset us. Cos, we live in an imperfect world. When something or someone gets on our nerves, how do we react? Do we regret saying what we said?
Our words make an impact.
‘The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit. ‘ Proverbs 15:4 NIV®
No two people are alike and there are bound to be differences. Even within the family and your work team. None of us are perfect. We make mistakes and so can they.
Things do go wrong.
Of course, we should learn
Not to repeat mistakes (or)
To avoid making mistakes that we were warned of.
But learning takes time, and everyone runs with a different velocity. There is an effort that goes in and we need to be patient to give each other the time and support required.
I have not been a gracious person exactly. It is not something I am proud of. It is not that I was unaware of how to handle certain situations, but impatience and irritation got the best of me.
At times, I do expect my tween daughter to carry an understanding of a mature adult (I have not arrived there myself!). This is too much pressure for a 9-year-old, and I seem to forget that.
Things will go wrong, and we will not be at a loss of words then. It is best to take a step back when prompted to speak out harshly.
Remember, we can speak life into someone today with encouraging or kind words. It doesn’t take much to do that.
My mom once said that the reason we have two ears and one mouth is so that we speak less and listen to double the amount.
It makes sense.
If we have two ears, won’t it mean that our words which would be heard, need to add more worth to a person.
Remember the time when Peter was down in the dumps for betraying Jesus. Jesus had a perfect opportunity to blast it out on Peter after the resurrection. But instead, He reinstated Peter lovingly. He did not embarrass Peter but rather helped Peter affirm his love for Jesus. (you could read more about this in the Bible, John chap 18-21)
There was a time I recall; I was out with my friends along with my older daughter Renae. She was 3 years old at that time. She was entertaining my friends with all her cuteness and jumping around. And like any parent, I was excitedly shooting a video of her in action while continuing to speak to my friends at the same time. I was talking to them about how I need to go back home soon since Reji’s mom (my mother-in-law) would be waiting for lunch.
A few days later, while I was watching the same video at home, I realized that my conversation had got recorded. My tone revealed how annoyed and displeased I was about rushing back home since my mother-in-law was waiting. The way I sounded wasn’t pleasant. I realized that day that if my unpleasant tone or words could cause discomfort, how soothing a pleasant word could be.
‘Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. ‘ Proverbs 16:24 NIV®
In a conflict, our tone and words can cause considerable damage to both sides.
Whereas, a kind word appropriately placed can cause disruption. It can catch one off guard. The defence mechanism around a person is weakened. There is a sudden shift in the tension.
‘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. ‘ Proverbs 15:1-2 NIV®
Choose your words. They make a difference. We don’t have to go overboard with it.
‘If you find honey, eat just enough— too much of it, and you will vomit.’ Proverbs 25:16 NIV®
In the same manner, our thoughts matter.
Our thoughts are hidden from the world. But our thoughts are ‘Words’ speaking aloud within us. They could be about ourselves or others. Choose them wisely.
According to the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at the University of Southern California, the average brain generates 48.6 thoughts per minute. This adds up to a total of 70,000 thoughts per day.
‘Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. ‘Philippians 4:8 NIV®
At your workplace / within your team, some may not be able to express their problem to you or others. Or some find it needless to talk about their struggle. This does not mean that they are worry-free. We may not know what is troubling them or what they are going through. Be sensitive no matter what.
We matter to God. We can hurt ourselves with unkind words.
We are God’s creation and we are off-limits when it comes to hurting ourselves or others.
If you have consciously or unintentionally used hurtful words, you can ask God for forgiveness. The Bible says that God is faithful and just to forgive.
I have profited a great deal at work when my peers and seniors used kind & encouraging words. It has helped me excel and taught me to be gentle towards others.
I am not a great cook but positive words at home motivate me to try my best. Of course, one should not lie. Be honest.
We can always think of an uplifting word to replace an insensitive word. Everyone needs it. Your family and people at work too (including your bosses).
Think about words that made a difference in your life. Think about how it helped you survive a crisis or a situation at work. Thank God for those words.
Words are powerful. Use the power of words to flourish a relationship wherever you are. Give God your best. Even the words you speak.
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