CAUTION: WORDS – Please Use Wisely

When my son was small, his response to hurtful words showed the depth of his softness toward verbal attacks. One day his older brother spoke something that hurt his feelings, and when told (still in the midst of the confrontation),  “It’s not like I broke your arm,” his tearful response nearly broke my heart.

I wish you would have just broken my arm instead; that would have hurt less.

My young son understood the power of words. And in this scenario, he experienced the pain of their cutting power.

Sometimes words hurt. Even more than broken bones.

Because words have the power to break something much more fragile than bone and marrow. Words have the power to crush relationships. They have the strength to derail another’s purpose. They have the force to turn hearts toward self-loathing. They even have the power to destroy the most fearsome of warriors. Don’t believe me? I daresay the most dreaded words on the front lines of battle are not always the commanding officer’s issue to Advance as much as they are the dread of receiving letters from back home that begin with the words Dear John, …

I wish you would have just broken my arm instead; that would have hurt less.

Every human being needs to believe that he is valuable. Every wife longs to feel cherished by her husband. Every husband wants to be respected by his wife. Every child needs the assurance of a parent’s love. Every person desires to know that they matter. And when words are spoken that tell them otherwise, eventually they will come to believe it.

Eventually those hurtful words will transform hearts, and not for the better.

Because words are powerful like that.

Broken bones can be set in casts or fused in repair to become strong once more. Bones will mend. But hearts are much more fragile. More tender. More easily torn and less easily repaired.

So great is the influence of the spoken word.

The Bible reminds us of the  power words hold.

Words are powerful enough

… to speak the universe into existence.

… to forgive sins.

… to silence demons.

… to bring sight to blind eyes.

… to sway the hearts of men.

But words can also be spoken with evil intent.

Words can

… crush the spirit of men.

… lead us to believe lies.

… destroy relationships.

… disintegrate hope.

I wish you would have just broken my arm instead; that would have hurt less.

The next time we find ourselves tempted to speak words that would better be left unsaid, let’s turn to the WORD and apply His words of advice as we remember:

Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. (Proverbs 15:4)

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, so choose your words wisely.

May they be a source of healing and restoration for all who are within hearing.


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