Choose your words wisely!!!

I can't tell you how many times I have asked someone a question and been replied to in a way that made me or the other person feel or look foolish, as if the answer were considered obvious or understood.

Sometimes I find myself verbally responding to the actions of others in a way that reflects the exact opposite of what I was actually thinking or feeling. Today I have really been challenged to consider the impact that my words might have on others. Not necessarily the ones I am speaking to but the ones who are in ear shot, the ones who don't know me yet but can hear the words coming from my mouth. Sarcasm is defined as “a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain.” Though I don't intend for that to happen, the truth is it can and does. The truth is, if I am going to play with a knife someone is bound to get hurt and with this realization I must put the knife down.

As a wife, mother, friend a person in relationships, I find that I often use sarcastic tones and remarks to “get my point across.” In turn, my children spout sarcasm back at me and each other as well as my spouse and others around me. It has become something we have all just become accustom to.

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves” (Phil. 2:3).

I must always ask myself, “Do my words and actions help and encourage others? Do they build others up or do they tear them down?” Of course, I will occasionally make comments in a mildly sarcastic or teasing manner, without intending to demean others. Sometimes, such statements can lighten a tense moment or bring a smile to another person’s face, when he or she realizes the true intent behind it. The problem with this is if the person doesn't know me well I could actually be causing them pain. Pain that might not even show up until I have left the room. People are all around me with unseen open wounds and I must be aware and sensitive to those at the cost of even a one liner making me look quick on my feet. I ask myself, can I forfeit this part of my personality, not deny it but rather give up my right to use it so that others might feel safe around me. I realized that sarcasm builds walls and prevents them from coming down. How can I reach people if they don't trust me?

Now, don't get me wrong. I believe that God definitely has a sense of humor, all I have to do is look at His creation. So, it is not wrong for me to sometimes look at things from a lighter side. But tact and discretion must be exercised. Even when a particular comment could potentially lighten a serious moment, I must put yourself “in the other person’s shoes,” and imagine how such a statement may be received. Although my intentions could be very innocent, and even good, “a wise man’s heart discerns both time and judgment” (Ecc. 8:5), and knows when to say (or not to say) what.

Proverbs 17:28: “Even a fool, when he holds his peace [does not speak], is counted wise: and he that shuts his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” It is sometimes better to say nothing at all.
Again, I find that I must examine my motive. Sometimes, I may be tempted to make a particular remark simply to show others how “clever” I am , without even considering how it will make the other person feel or those around me feel.

Ultimately, I must follow Christ’s admonition in Luke 6:31: “And as you would that men should do to you, do you also to them likewise.” In other words, I must always be considerate of others, treating them the way I would want to be treated. This includes the way I speak to them. I will be known as much by my words as by my actions, so I will learn to choose my words wisely.


Melissa said...

Oh Girl, never have I been so convicted by my words than this year in 2008! I even just bought the book "Taming Your Tongue"...I should know how by now. What's my problem???

I know the power of words though. They can build up or totally tear down.

I'm so glad you are blogging. You give me so much to think about!

Love you girl,

Running My Race said...

Thank you so much for the comment, you as well do the same for me. I have to tell you, for years I used my words to protect myself but the Lord has reminded me that He is all about the business and that I must stop that behavior. Ouch!!!! See you next month my friend.