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Words of Hurt or Words of Healing?

There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health. - Proverbs 12:18 (NKJV)

This verse is saying a lot in just a few simple words. Let’s look at it closely. I think the verse is speaking about the putting down of others, who you may see as below you, not as smart as you, or less of a Christian than you. Basically, it's just negative speech about another person. This person could be a coworker, relative, stranger, or even another brother or sister in Christ.

We must be careful how we speak about others in their presence or even more, when they are not there to defend themselves. It is very easy to put down and degrade someone, especially in the workplace, at the store, or even at church services. Maybe we don’t like the way they dress, or how their children act, or so many other things.  Are we guilty of talking about them behind their backs? Why do we do this? Is it because it makes us feel better about ourselves? Is it because we find humor in another person’s shortcomings? Are we guilty of this, without even realizing we are doing it?  In whatever light you choose to look at this type of speech, it is cowardly. And when we really look at Proverbs 12:18, we should be convicted by it! 

The next part of the verse tells us this: “But the tongue of the wise promotes health.” We really should try to speak highly of others, when given the opportunity, and overlook shortcomings. Build up people when we can. Our world is full of negativity, and it is so easy to get caught up in the swirl of it all. But we need to commit ourselves to a higher level of conduct. Try hard not to beat down; rather build up friends, family, coworkers and even strangers when given the opportunity. We’ll be doing our part in making a kinder, gentler world.

1st Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”  Are we doing this? If not, why not?

How easy is it for us to say to someone, “Great job,” or “Nice work”???  Or tell them how much you appreciate them, and what they do for you. And why do this? That it may give grace to those who hear you.  People are watching and listening to us. If we are in a group of people, and someone is tearing into another person, and you DON’T participate, people notice and respect that. It speaks loudly of who we are, and who we claim to be as a Christian.

We must be careful, how we speak to others about others, and always refrain from joining in when someone is speaking harshly about another person.  I only bring up these points, because this is something I think we are all guilty of doing. I know I am. God holds us to a higher standard. We are His children and a reflection of Him, while we live on this earth.

-  Terry Ryan