Focus Scripture:James 3:5-8
“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”
― Benjamin Franklin
“It doesn't matter if you and everyone else in the room are thinking it. You don't say the words. Words are weapons. They blast big bloody holes in the world. And words are bricks. Say something out loud and it starts turning solid. Say it loud enough and it becomes a wall you can't get through.”
― Richard Kadrey, Kill the Dead
“Guard your tongue, and use it for good instead of evil. How many marriages or friendships have been destroyed because of criticism that spiraled out of control? How many relationships have broken down because of a word spoken thoughtlessly or in anger? A harsh word can’t be taken back; no apology can fully repair its damage.”
― Billy Graham
Words. The power of words to hurt. The power of words to wound, and not jut those around us, but even to wound us, the speakers. Jesus spoke of it, that what makes a person unclean was not what went into a person, but what came out--what the person said. (Matthew 15:11) James speaks of how hard it is to control what we say. It is the true test of wisdom, being able to hold our tongue. I know I am better able to hold my tongue when I'm rested, balanced, feeling well, and in touch with God. But when I let myself get run down or overworked, and especially if I have let my time with God fall to the bottom of my to-do list, then I am much more likely to respond without thinking and, as you might expect, say something thoughtless.
Learning to control our words and to use them wisely is a sign of spiritual maturity.
Gracious God, help me think before I speak, to speak that which is helpful and kind, and to hold in that which would only serve to hurt. Amen.