It is the same with words.
Once they have been said, they cannot be put back.
Words are really important.
There is the old saying, 'Sticks and stones can break my bones but words they cannot hurt me'.
Who thinks that is true?
As someone said, a scar on your heart hurts more than a scar on your wrist.
Or, in the words of Proverbs 12.18, 'Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing'.
So we need to be careful with words, particularly if we are good or quick with words.
It is very easy
- to make a joke about someone
- to call them a name
- to spread a rumour about somebody
- to bad mouth, threaten, humiliate
It is as if the other person is this, and we do this:
hold a piece of paper, and then in silence tear it up into shreds
Touch your tongue! James in the bible tells us that the tongue is like a spark. It is very small, but it can set a forest on fire.
Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing
To bring healing, we need to learn to 'speak the truth in love'.
That doesn't mean we cannot challenge. Sometimes if we love someone, and if we want to build them up, we need to challenge them: to say 'you could do better'. I'm sure it is what many of your teachers say to you!
But it is so important to speak words that build up rather than tear down: like thank you, you're good at that, well done, I like the way you did that, you are a star!
Be careful with your words.
My granny gave me two pieces of advice.
1. If you haven't got anything good to say about someone, don't say anything.
2. Count to 10 before you speak, especially if you are angry or hurting.
And that is just as true before you post something on facebook, instagram or upload a video to youtube.
Because once it is out, you cannot put it back in.
Once words are said, they can only be forgiven.