"But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it on the day of judgment." Matthew 12:36
"Mom, Caleb is being mean to me," my daughter said as she came into the living room. A long vacation had long since begun, leaving within it two bored, cranky kids. Irritated about the interruption, I snapped back. "Go find something to do, or go to your room."
"I don't want to hear it anymore! That's it. Go to your room. You are being ridiculous!" My daughter, with a dejected look on her face, trudged up to her room, clearly not knowing why she was headed there in the first place.
With just a few words, I turned an otherwise happy child into a downcast one. It was like I let the air out of her tires, except I forgot to plug it back up when I was done. Without care and compassion, I had chipped away at her self-esteem. I dismissed her thoughts and feelings without listening to her. I was more focused on what I wanted to get done, than on mediating the situation properly. I let the words slip out of my mouth without thinking, and now, I could never get them back.
Words can be used as a catalyst for joy and hope, or they can be used as a weapon, destroying those who hear them. I could have taken a break from the situation or asked her to find a reasonable solution. But I didn't. I let unkind words destroy her fragile ego. For every word I utter, I will have to account for not only in God's eyes but also in others’ lives as well. What would people say about me if asked how I use my words? Would they say I use them as a weapon, wielding them around carelessly, or would they say I use them as a force field to repel the unkindness of the world?
How do you use your words: As an instrument of love and peace, or a weapon of destruction?