Just Words

‘Sticks and stone may break my bones but words will never hurt me.’  No big deal!  They’re just words.  This week we’ve seen enacted on the national stage the effect of ‘just words.’ Paula Deen’s trials over the effect of one derogatory word; the Supreme Court’s decision on voter’s rights and on DOMA–just words; the Travon Martin trial–all just words.  Regardless of which way I may lean on the issues involved, I am struck again by the power of words–a series of letters arranged in a certain way that have the ability to bless or destroy lives.

For me, it’s words spoken in haste.  You know the ones that travel straight from your gut to your tongue without the benefit of a brain filter.  How often I wish I’d bitten my tongue instead of speaking out of turn and not meaning to, injured another.  My problem is most of the time I don’t realize I’ve done so until later after the damage has settled into the other person’s memory.  James 1:26 NIV says, “If anyone considers himself [herself] religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his [her] tongue deceives himself [herself] and his [her] religion is worthless.”

Does that include the garbage we share on FB or on e-mail?  They’re only words, right?

Dear Lord, teach me to rein in my tongue.  Forgive my thoughtless haste and the damage my words have done to family, friends and strangers over the years.  Please give me the opportunity to rectify the wrongs or at least soften the damage my words have caused.

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