Sticks and Stones…Practical Advice Regarding the Weaponry of Words
Few statements are more untrue than this: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
The truth is, words are powerful, because words are spiritual. They can be seeds to produce a harvest of blessing and peace, or swords to wound and destroy a person’s reputation.
The world was created by God’s words. That same creative force has been given to us! Kingdoms, nations, businesses, churches, and marriages are either built up or destroyed by words.
The writer of Proverbs said: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”
Leaders – we must pay particular attention to our words. We feel emotions just as deeply as anyone else, but we can’t afford to allow our mouths to give freedom to every thought we have.
In fact, there are people who are bent to use your words against you. Typically, these are the ones who have no reign on their own tongue, yet they lie in wait for you to slip up.
Here’s some practical advise for leaders:
1. When possible, give yourself at least 24 hours to respond to a negative situation. Think through all of the ramifications of your words. A wise answer can bring solutions; an outburst of anger complicates the problem.
2. Process your thoughts and emotions with a trusted, level-headed person before you confront a difficult conversation. Let him/her remind you of your personal character. Your character should never be sacrificed on the altar of circumstances.
3. When it comes to any issue of conflict, avoid written communication. Face to face meetings allow your heart to be heard, not just your words (which can be misinterpreted). And by all means, respect yourself and others by refusing to make public that which is personal. Never, never use social media to vent. It makes you look pitiful, and damages your credibility as a leader.
Jesus experienced the same scrutiny.
Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. (Matthew 22:15 ESV)
How did He respond? He never let conflict turn into personal offense. His heart remained pure, which allowed His words and actions to also be pure.
Our words, after all, are simply a reflection of our hearts.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight today.
In Jesus’ name, amen.