“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.”
I’ve been really thinking about the power of our speech lately. It’s honestly been a topic I can’t seem to shake. I’ll be the first to admit that I have uttered some harsh words in my day and it makes me feel so ugly to reflect on some of the nasty things I’ve said. I have been very thoughtless and naive in the past, not understanding how much power lives in my words.
It’s a difficult thing to admit, isn’t it? That we were wrong with something that we said or that we hurt someone with our words. Its hard to humble ourselves, own up to the words we’ve spoken, and apologize. Why is it so difficult for us to take responsibility for things we have said? We are so prideful sometimes, aren’t we? I can’t help but feel our speech and our pride go hand in hand.
Learning to tame our tongue is not an easy task. I think that’s why the bible touches on the topic so frequently. Proverbs 12:18 tells us “Thoughtless speech is like the stabs of a sword, but the tongue of the wise is healing.” Our words leave wounds that are hard to heal and sometimes, never heal. We have both the power of life and death in the tip of our tongue. We always have two choices when we open our mouths. Are we going to be humble and understanding? Or are we going to be angry and argumentative?
Watching our words doesn’t just apply to arguments, how many of you can recall times that you gossiped about a friend or family member? Times when you complained about your coworker to other coworkers? Or times you gave your opinion on things that were nothing of your concern? Learning to tame our tongue encompasses many different areas of our life. Heavenly Father asks us to be wise and silent, why do you think this is? I would dare to say that it’s because he would rather us say nothing at all, than to cut someone deep with our immaturity and misunderstanding.
Some people would say that they “just speak the truth” or that they say the things ” everyone else is thinking.” Not every thought that pops into our head needs to be shared. Sometimes it takes more will power to bite our tongue, than it does to voice an opinion.
Now I’m not saying we shouldn’t share our point of view, beliefs, or completely censor ourselves. I’m saying to ask ourselves “is this an appropriate time or space to say this”. I’ve just noticed an odd online culture has emerged in recent years where we have this aggressive need to be right, make people see it our way, and over-share. The truth is that giving to much of ourselves away online leaves us open to criticism and vulnerable to backlash, that otherwise would not be there if we had kept our comments to ourselves.
I will be the first to admit that I have fallen prey to this behavior in the past. It’s become acceptable these days to not care if someone doesn’t like what we have to say, to block someone who doesn’t agree with us, or put someone on blast because we disagree with them. In recent years we’ve been told that we shouldn’t have to be politically correct and sugar coating things. I’ll be bold and say that this is why I think manners and over all etiquette is dying in our society.
I know what you’re thinking “well gosh Kelcie, is there anything I CAN say? Seems like I’m not allowed to be myself!” Of course you can be yourself, but lets take the time to ask ourselves is what we are saying or sharing kind, necessary, and edifying? We should want to have conversations that are stimulating and inspiring, we should NOT want share things that are offensive or things that ignite arguments.
Being mindful of our words is the key to avoiding unnecessary conflict and cultivating healthy friendships/relationships. We need to learn how to articulate our thoughts and express them respectfully. We all have a right to our opinions, however, no one is entitled to put someone else down for disagreeing with them.
Join me in making it a point to be polite and courteous, despite your perspective. None of us are perfect and we all say things that we know we shouldn’t. If anyone popped into your head while you were reading this, do what I did, reach out to them and make amends. I promise you it is so freeing and a weight will be lifted off your heart.
It is never too late to leave our old self behind, change our behavior, and choose to speak life into one another.
Kelcie Marie E.