Last December I wrote a blog entry: “Words. Knowing them. And knowing how to use them.” (click here to read that post) Today I’m writing from a different angle: the impact our words can have.
Last night, while with a group of friends, we discussed the weight our words carry. We talked about how a compliment or an encouraging word goes a long way…those words can be life-giving. And we talked about the converse of that…how words can also be very damaging – those spoken to us as well as those spoken through the veil of gossip.
We looked at some passages out of Proverbs that give Biblical credence to these concepts:
“Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.”
“A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness. Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”
Proverbs 15:1-2, 4
“From a wise mind comes wise speech; the words of the wise are persuasive. Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”
Proverbs 16: 23-24
“Scoundrels create trouble; their words are a destructive blaze. A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.”
Proverbs 16: 27-28
“The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.”
Interestingly enough, “gossip” was a topic of discussion at a staff meeting today. We are going through some organizational changes, with hopes of creating a more positive work environment. Several staff members expressed concern about the “grapevine” being the source of information distribution (which, as was pointed out, ends up being speculation and gossip).
Both in our discussion at Bible study last night, and during our staff meeting today, the advice and directive was the same: open and honest communication. It is not rocket science. And it is not limited to Biblical teaching. The words we use with one another should be to build up. Not tear down.
Ironically, the prompt today at Theme Thursday was: GOSSIP.
All Scripture references taken from The New Living Translation.