Words to Hurt or Help

Proverbs 12:18
There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.

Anyone who’s ever been hurt by words knows how sharp they can be and how hurtful they can be. Used the wrong way, our words can wound others in significant ways. They are a weapon even the weakest and smallest can use. And sometimes we toss them around so carelessly, not realizing the points that they have and that we are hurting others with them. Other times, we use them purposefully as weapons, hoping to inflict as much damage as we can with some cutting remark. And other times, we swing them around without realizing who we are hitting with them.

But used wisely, words can heal a person’s heart and soothe the aches and the hurts that this life can cause. Used by a loving heart, the right word at the right time can mend so much that has been cut open by the cruelties of life spent in this sin-filled world. Compassionate and kind words go a long way when we’re so used to the hard edge of unkindness that permeates our world today. A gentle tone and a love-filled message can be like bandages that bind up a wound. Sympathy, pity and concern can strengthen a worn-out soul beaten down by the storms of life.

Most of us are probably familiar with the sting that can come from something said to us or about us. And hopefully we’ve all experienced the healing that can come from a kind word. And may those reminders of our own experiences cause us to be careful of the things we say and how we say them. We can say necessary things that could be perceived as hurtful in a gentle way to soften the blow. We can leave things unsaid that have no good intentions behind them. And we can speak out in love when we see someone who has been completely shattered.

Are we using our words to hurt and inflict damage, or are our words a healing balm for a broken spirit? Do we unsheathe them like a sword, looking to pierce those we would use them against, or do we pull them out like a bottle of medicine and sweetly nurture and minister to the needy souls around us? How we use them is our choice, so may we always choose to leave the hurtful ones unspoken and share abundantly the ones that can comfort, encourage and strengthen others.

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