Some of my best days are those that are sprinkled with encouraging words, while the occasional less tolerable days are peppered with careless words. I have no doubt I’ve supplied fodder for many a person’s better and worse days as well. We’ve likely all used adjectives to tear down, just as we’ve all likely been torn down by hurtful and exaggerative words. Adjectives emphasize and therefore leave their mark in the memory. How much better it would be for them to leave a positive, pleasant memory then a negative, bitter one. However, I know too well, when I get puffed up with pride or anger it is impossible to chase down grace and tack it on to my words as an afterthought. That would be akin to attempting to put out a fire with a watering can; whereas a heartfelt apology is more like the downpour that puts out a fire. Even better is to not ignite a fire of words at all. “Don’t say anything that would hurt [another person]. Instead, speak only what is good so that you can give help wherever it is needed. That way, what you say will help those who hear you.” Ephs. 4:29 GWT “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone.” Col. 4:6 How I need an ample supply of stored up grace before I open my mouth. I also know that not one of us is perfect in taming our tongues, but we are to still strive to be.
The verbal cold wall, no less formidable then 20′ rock castle walls, can be just as damaging, especially as time seems to be on the side of verbal walls, adding layer after layer of additional impenetrable silence and misunderstandings. The silence behind withheld words of encouragement or reconciliation does damage and this choice insidiously hides behind a cloak of innocence. Shortchanging or refusing good and timely communication and reconciliation speaks volumes regarding the lack of grace and abundance of arrogance. If all Christian service was done in the order of Matt. 5:24, and therefore divinely blessed, how much more effective it would be.
The tongue is the only body part which is “set on fire” by hell, itself. The enemy has a vested interest in that particular part of the human anatomy and the damage it can do. “Like a sharpened razor, your tongue devises destruction, working treachery.” Ps. 52:2 HCSB There are times when words should be withheld; not in stubborn silence, but to avoid the arrogance of insisting on the last word. Though I doubt there’s a single human being all-wise in this area, the saying does have merit, “Wise people are not always silent, but they know when to be”.
Often thoughtful words take time to formulate…more time then some want to give. A regular influx of grace helps words tumble out less dangerously in those impromptu moments. No matter how easy or hard it is to say the kind thing, nor how many times I blow it, it’s an art worth perfecting. How I need to take the time each morning with the Source of grace, and ask Him for a clearer picture of the grace I’ve been given at the Cross and therefore the grace I have no right to refuse giving. Ps. 19:14, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” With my words I can make someone’s day brighter or with my words or withholding of them, I can tear them down. The devastating effect of the latter can dampen the spirit and demotivate. Since words have such a profound effect, why not raise the word bar? Do you take the time to season your speech with grace?