What, How, When!
I recall as a child a saying that was frequently used to taunt others and demonstrate your toughness. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. It may have served a purpose in the heat of the conflict, but unfortunately no bigger lie has ever been told! Words do hurt, words cause damage, and words have been known to indirectly kill! The bible references at least 126 scriptures relative to the power and fluency of the tongue. Not all of them are of a negative connotation, however James 3: 8 gives us this warning; “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”
Our mouths must be used to communicate, but how this tool is used determines if we convey our words and thoughts in a constructive or destructive manner. It is important to note that our words do not originate in our mouths or our voices, but they begin as thoughts that formulate in our minds. Words are used to communicate our opinions, our feelings, and to substantiate knowledge we possess.
Everyone has the privilege of exercising their right to express themselves and have their voice heard. However, it behooves each one of us to examine first, what we say, how we say it, and finally when it should be said! If everyone were careful to use those three simple guidelines, lives could be spared, marriages could be saved, relationships could be sustained, and wars could cease. It should be apparent that everything that can be said, should not always be said. But with pure and proper motives, words can be spoken at the appropriate time that have the ability to interject life, hope, and peace into even the gravest or volatile circumstances.
It is not always easy to know exactly what to say in any given situation. That’s why it is important to think before you speak. That way you’re less likely to say something you may later regret. The feature I appreciate most on my phone and any of my electronic devices is the delete button! I give mine a workout! The reason for that is because the person to whom you are writing cannot see your facial expression, and do not have the privilege of assessing your body language. Therefore, the perception of what they are reading is solely based on the words they are reading. On the other hand, in a face to face verbal exchange, once the words are spoken into the atmosphere there is no delete button.
Retractions can be made, and apologies extended but there is never a guarantee that they will be genuinely received. Tonality is also critically important. I find myself paying closer attention to the tone of my voice because I understand how it is as important as the words that are spoken. The tone of a person’s voice can be almost like music to a person’s ears or it can be as agitative as nails dragging across a chalkboard.
Lastly, as with almost everything, timing is a key factor. When we determine that we do have something to say, and we feel that we’re able to deliver the message in a calm manner that will be received well, then finally consideration must be given to when it should be said. That is often easier said than done. We’re quick to determine, “I have something to say, that’s worth being heard, and it needs to be said now”. That’s not always the case. Oftentimes the message has merit and value, but possibly could be received and make a greater impact at a future time.
In closing I want to share something I read from an anonymous author. “Our words are stones. We are nothing but stone throwers with each word we speak. If our words contain beauty people treasure them. If our words contain pain, people toss them aside, but not until after they have had to deal with the wound they caused.”
Source: First Lady Denise