Words can heal us or hurt us. The spoken word is undeniably powerful.
Perhaps we should all have to obtain a license to speak; for some people have no filter, no compassion and according to the scripture…no heart. We could all share stories of words that have wounded our souls. No one escapes this life without an insult or offense, and sadly we ourselves are sometimes the perpetrator.
Today we are witnessing calloused words thrown back and forth on television and in the news. Angry, slandering terms so effortlessly spoken. Is there no alarm that goes off inside, warning the offenders to stop and think before they speak? Are these insidious words actually a reflection of the speakers’ heart? Maybe there is venom flowing through the veins, not blood; otherwise, how could so much hurt be inflicted?
I’ve been cursed by more than a few high schoolers. As an educator for many years, I have also observed the hateful, hurtful flying words between teenagers who are in pain and wishing to inflict pain or get even.
I’ve been sliced by an unthinking acquaintance, I’ve been bullied by someone claiming to love me. And, sometimes, even more hurtful has been a silence, the unspoken word of a darkened heart. I have almost seen the painful word as it lept from its cave. Certainly, I have felt it.
How is it that we fellow humans send these fiery darts? Have we forgotten the old admonishments of “Think before you speak”? Are we so intent upon hurting other travelers that we purposefully strike fast and deep so as to stop them in their tracks?
My dad used to admonish me with “Aren’t you going to fight back?” or “Don’t let them get away with saying that!” But, I have always been taken aback when someone was rude or hateful to me. I continue to be surprised when someone acts unkind and I am slow to respond with equal vengeance. Perhaps I am naive or Pollyanna-ish, but I firmly believe that ‘hurting people… hurt people’.
I do believe that there are vipers whose intentions are not good, but I am convinced that there are other ways besides cutting words to take up for myself and feel safe.
If only there were x rays able to see into the hearts of others. Whether it would help us or hurt us, I do not know. For each of us is responsible for our own words and what we do with them. Someday we will all be held accountable for what we spoke and the hurt or help that our words intended.
If we could remember to THINK before speaking: Is it Thoughtful? Honest? Intelligent? Necessary? Kind? Perhaps then, we could reflect more goodness from our hearts and not hatred.