Words Matter

Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down. As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife.
— Proverbs 26:20-21 (NIV)

Our words are powerful. They can lift someone out of the darkest pit, and they can also cause unimaginable hurt and pain. Have you ever said something, unintentionally or intentionally, that ended up hurting someone else? Have you ever been on the other end, where you were the one who ended up being hurt by the words of another?

Gossip is defined as “idle talk or rumor.” Empty words meant to achieve nothing other than cause harm to someone else. Scripture has an interesting viewpoint on where our words come from: Luke 6:45b (NLT) “What you say flows from what is in your heart.” The next obvious question is, what is in your heart? What do the words you say speak to the condition of your heart?

There are some who have been treated so poorly in their past that they feel that they cannot do anything but do the same to others. That’s certainly one way to handle it. I can’t imagine that there is much joy in living life this way though. If this sounds like you, what if you were to do everything you could to make sure that as far as it concerns you, no one around you will ever be treated as poorly as you have been in the past? What if, instead of sowing gossip, hurtful and idle talk, and rumors, you began to sow love, grace and joy? Think of your office space or your area of the plant. Think of your home and the people you chose to do life with. What if this were true? The transformation of your relationships would be dramatic and the potential to positively impact the lives of those around you enormous!

Here is a good self-check for you to make sure that gossip and idle talk are no longer part of your life. First, the next time you find yourself needing to whisper in order to tell someone something about someone else, just go all the way and keep it to yourself. Second, pray that your heart would be broken for the person that you are tempted to gossip about. That person is more than likely is going through more than you can imagine. If you are going to use words, use them to encourage and voice your love – not gossip about them to someone else.

This is another great tool to use: THINK.

T - Is it True?

H - Is it Helpful?

I - Is it Inspiring?

N - Is it Necessary?

K - Is it Kind?

If what I am about to say does not pass those tests, I will keep my mouth shut!
— Alan Redpath


"I need Thee, O Lord, for a curb on my tongue; when I am tempted to making carping criticisms and cruel judgments, keep me from speaking barbed words that hurt, and in which I find perverted satisfaction. Keep me from unkind words and from unkind silences. Restrain my judgments. Make my criticisms kind, generous, and constructive. Make me sweet inside, that I may be gentle with other people, gentle in the things I say, kind in what I do. Create in me that warmth of mercy that shall enable others to find Thy strength for their weakness, Thy peace for their strife, Thy joy for their sorrow, Thy love for their hatred, Thy compassion for their weakness. In thine own strong name, I pray. Amen." ~ Peter Marshall