I’ve been playing Scrabble on my phone lately. Before I got the app, I hadn’t played the game in ages, and I’ve really been enjoying it! The whole concept of trying to form words with the few letters you have (and at the same time, attaching them to words already on the board) is just fun for me. It made me think of something else, though.
Have you thought about the words you’ve used today? We speak so easily, often without thinking. Words, however, need to be used with care. We’re usually aware that we can do damage or good with our words, but sometimes we don’t realize the huge impact they have.
The Impact of Hurtful Words
You’ve no doubt experienced it. A word said in anger or out of pure spite will stick with you for a long time. Every time you think about it, it rubs that sore spot, making you hurt all over again.
Did the person who said it realize it would hurt you? Yes. For many people, that’s their intention, even if only for a moment. But did they know their words would stick with you this long? Weeks, months, even years later? I doubt it. Sadly, though, hurtful words do come back to haunt us long after they were first said.
Cruel words about your appearance might come back to hurt you every time you look in the mirror. A derisive comment about your beliefs may lead you to question them. A callous remark on your athletic abilities could cause you to give up a dream of a future in sports.
Words can hurt. The thing is, we all know how they hurt us. Have you ever thought about how your words might hurt others?
Maybe you said something insensitive to a friend who hurt your feelings. Maybe you made fun of someone because, well, everyone else was. Maybe you finally thought of the perfect comment to tear down someone who’s been doing just that to you–and that’s only fair, right?
What does the Bible say?
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21)
Repay evil with good. Just because someone uses their words to hurt you doesn’t mean you should do the same.
What about words said in anger? In the heat of the moment, you may utter something you’d never thought you would actually say. If that happens, don’t leave it at that. Ask forgiveness, both from God and the person you said those words to.
Words can hurt. But guess what? They can also do a lot of good!
The Impact of Thoughtful Words
When you put thought into your words and put an effort into using them to build up others, you will become a source of hope and encouragement to others. I do think that hurtful words penetrate deeper than kind words–which gives us all the more reason to use our words with care–but kind words still leave a lasting, positive impact.
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. (Ephesians 4:29)
Be a Christ-like example to others by using your words for good, not harm.
The impact you make on others will also make an impact on you. If you use your words to hurt others, you will eventually hurt yourself. But if you use your words to encourage others, you will be filled with the kind of joy you can only get by giving to those around you. In this case, you’re giving them a gift of encouragement and love, simply by using your words wisely.
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. (Galatians 6:7)
See the amazing things that words can do, and use them for good!
“Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.” Blaise Pascal