Words are powerful aren’t they? Especially if they come from people important. Be it good or bad, sensitive or tactless, pleasant or spiteful; there is a lot of meaning in words, especially if they are true but even if they are not. No one can really see minds and hearts if the mouth is silent. All that can be done in silence is to predict, assume, or let go. The only way our intentions come across are through what we express. It has been said that actions speak louder than words. Still, this doesn’t mean words don’t speak at all.
I can tell anyone anything and they can choose to believe me or not. However, when the words that come out of my mouth are hurtful swords, they can slice through flesh and heart and bone; regardless of their truth. There’s nothing anyone can do about words when they are spoken like this precisely because they are words- the quantifiable expression of the mind and the heart that can be understood by anyone. They become clear as day.
What hurts most are sword words that are laced with poison.
In themselves, they pierce the heart, but along with the immediate sting, they also carry a slow and deep burn. These words carry the poison of insensitivity, of condescension, of betrayal, of untruth. Poison eats and kills from the inside. The disdain that a person can drench his or her words with can turn even the sturdiest of hearts into rubble, pulverizing each attempt to reason with words heard because the clarity in the tone and tempo upon which they are spoken betrays any hope for misinterpretation. What has been said can never be unsaid.
In lashing out before thinking, we can accuse guilt on the innocent. We can spit on the face of the other. We can pour filth over the pure. Even if the words we say are true, it doesn’t mean saying them is right. Hurtful words, insensitive words, malicious words, even the absence of words when they matter– these can really hack through the heart; especially if they are spoken by someone we trust and love. These words can crush the soul.
Words can kill but they can also bring life. There is great power in the tongue. Should we speak to butcher hearts or to mend them? Will we declare words to put others down or to lift them up? Will we use our tongue to kill or to bring life? The way we choose our words matter.
Self-control begins and ends with the mouth. If you have been bullied, it doesn’t justify you bullying others as well. That would be like poisoning others because you have been poisoned once before.
We can speak to destroy or to build.
I hope people start listening to what they will say, before they say anything. Words can wage war or bring about peace. Blessing and cursing is within the power of the tongue.
“They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their words like deadly arrows… The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” -Bible
(Please also see: “Idealism and Reality: On Falling Short and Cherishing our Humanity“)