Words Matter: Hurt or Heal

“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (Proverbs 12:18)

I might have been ten years old. I was with my friend in his parents’ room, and I saw a handgun on his dad’s nightstand that looked exactly like a plastic toy one I had. But when I went to pick it up, the weight of it surprised me and I dropped it. My friend’s dad wasn’t happy.

words_350At the time I thought, “Cool. A real gun.” Now as a dad, the thought of my son picking up a handgun without understanding its power terrifies me. It takes training and wisdom to handle powerful weapons safely.

Today’s proverb is making the point that words are powerful weapons, as well. When we’re reckless—treating words like toys, like they don’t matter—we can cause serious damage before we even realize it.

And if we’re not careful, we’ll also miss the chance to use powerful words to help, to heal those who are hurting. Words are powerful medicine, squandered when we don’t know how to administer them with kindness, grace, and patience.

Think: How often have you felt wounded by another person’s words? Have you ever been surprised to learn that your careless words caused real damage?

Pray: Ask God to help you not to be reckless with your words but to use them wisely to help and heal others.

Do: Make a quick list of three of your friends who are especially good at using words in powerful and helpful ways.