Pleasant words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
A perverse man stirs up dissension and
a gossip separates close friends.
A man of knowledge uses words with restraint,
a man of understanding is even tempered.
Words. Our words are important. They bring healing or they bring harm. They bring life or they bring death.
I have been on the receiving end of gossip and hurtful words. They cut deep and leave a scar. I have also been on the giving end of gossip and hurtful words, most unintentional and some intentional. I see what gossip and hurtful words do. I see the web they weave and the mess they make. Once words are out there, they can't go back in. You cannot erase words from someone's memory. It's like that tube of toothpaste, once you squeeze the toothpaste out, there is no way to put it back into the tube. Words cannot be unspoken.
I encourage you. I challenge you. I dare you. Before you speak, ever, ask yourself these six questions:
- Are these words necessary?
- Does this person need to know this?
- Are these words true?
- Are these words coming from a pure heart?
- Do these words bring life?
- Do these words sadden the heart of God?
If you answer no to just one of these questions, or if you answer yes to the last question, you should not continue with the conversation. Be quiet. Do not proceed.
Go back and reread these verses in Proverbs. Be careful of what you say and who you say it to. Let your words bring life.