Words can be uplifting and degrading. They can be inspiring and painful. Words can cause a smile and tears. Words are like toothpaste because once they are out there, you can’t take them back.
The Bible warns us a lot about the tongue:
Proverbs 12:18 says “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
Ephesians 4:29 says “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Proverbs 15:1 says “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
James 3:4-5 says “Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!”
These verses only scratch the surface of all The Bible says about the tongue.
It’s no wonder so many of my clients need to work on communication issues! Words can have extremely positive impacts and a severely negative ripple effects. It can be difficult to control your words, but the key skill to work on is S-L-O-W-I-N-G D-O-W-N. Reactivity is often one of those moments when we realize how much words are like toothpaste. We blurt something out in the moment, but don’t have control and end up steering the ship the wrong direction or starting a forest fire.
5 Questions to ask yourself to help control your words:
“Is this necessary to say?”
“Could this be hurtful?”
“Do I need to say it now?”
“Am I calm enough to say it in a healthy way?”
“What is the message I want this person to hear?”
Next time you catch your words getting ready to burst out in a destructive way, think through these questions before you do. It just may prevent you from having to buy new toothpaste and cleaning up a big mess in your relationship!
Are there any other questions you’ve asked to be intentional with your words?