Skip to comments.The Power of the Tongue
Posted on 05/08/2014 10:12:16 AM PDT by Kaslin
Virtually every week theres a new headline of somebody getting in trouble because of something they have said. Perhaps a lifetimes work has been undone by a thoughtless remark.
One of the saddest things Ive ever heard was when a woman who was about 65 years old said that when she was a young teenager, about to go out on her first date, her dad said to her, Youre so ugly. Who would ever want to marry you?
That lady went on to go through four marriages and four divorces. Obviously, she made a lot of bad choices for which she is responsible. But even about a half-century later, her fathers thoughtless remarks still inflicted a deep wound.
We grew up hearing, Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may never hurt me.
Really? Often wounds from words can last a long time, maybe even a lifetime.
Christian pastor and author Chuck Swindoll says, "How much hurt, how much damage can be done by chance remarks! Our unguarded tongues can deposit germ-thoughts of hurt, humiliation, and hate into tender minds which fester, become full-blown infections, and ultimately spread disease throughout an adult personality.
He adds, With little regard for the other person's vulnerability, we have the power to initiate a violent emotional earthquake by merely making a few statements. They rip and tear like shrapnel in the person's head. Such destructive words are like sending 800 volts through 110 wire.
Many today, even some in our churches, have been so beaten down by insulting things said that they accomplish only a fraction of what they could achieve. They are the Walking Wounded.
I would hasten to add to any victim of such remarks: Consider the source. Dont take what others have said as gospel. Sometimes thoughtless remarks are just that---remarks delivered without thought or when someone is just tired. But words can have power, for good or ill.
The Bible (in Proverbs) says that life and death are in the power of the tongue. It also says in the book of James, Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.
Jesus said that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Thankfully, for those who want it, He is willing and able to give them spiritual heart surgery. Thats what conversion is.
Even in humor, we need to be careful in what we say---even if its just a joke. In the New Testament, the Greek word for flesh is sarx. Our word sarcasm comes from that word. The idea is that sarcasm is a metaphor of tearing out little pieces of flesh.
Dale Carnegie who wrote the book on personal relations, as in his classic, How To Win Friends and Influence People, said Dont criticize, condemn, or complain. Most fools can and do.
The late Christian motivator Zig Ziglar said theyve never built a statue to a critic.
He also said, We must point out the good as well as the things that people do wrong. Instead, we too often get involved in the terrible game of Gotcha! The manager jumps on the employee with both feet. Like a cheap suit or an ugly rash, hes all over him! One little mistake and Gotcha! That is unwise and unfair and is devastating in its impact on productivity.
Eisenhower said You do not lead by hitting people over the head---thats assault, not leadership.
Somebody once said that praising others (sincerely, not flattery) is like making deposits in a checking account. Criticizing others (even constructively) is like making a withdrawal. But too many of us are overdrawn and bouncing checks all over the place.
The need to think before we speak is even greater in our day of a 24/7 news cycle in a day of Twitter, Facebook, email, and social media nothing said can be taken back.
Just a couple months ago, a high level public relations executive sent out a thoughtless and derogatory tweet, which was a poor attempt at a joke, and it was racist. Then she boarded a flight in London and flew to Cape Town, South Africa.
During the 12 hours of that flight, she was offline and didnt know that the digital universe was exploding below. By the time she landed, she not only found how she had offended many people, she also found out that she had been fired. She apologized profusely, but it was too late.
So put a guard around your tongue. For others sake and your own. As the famous old saying goes, It is better to be thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words do lasting damage.
Just ask any Muslim.
My ex-mother in law told me that their father always called her and her two sisters morons, constantly. All three of them failed out of school.
Bookmarking, thank you for posting.
Well, was she?
LOL!!! She is a very nice lady. It just wasn’t in the cards for her to be an Astro Physicist.
Excellent article that ties several extremely important Biblical truths together.
An important parallel subject to “Life and Death are in the power of the tongue” is what people say to themselves, programming themselves for success or failure by that simple process.
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