Words tend to hurt people way more than sticks or stones ever could.
How many times a day do you think about what you say?
My mom always told me growing up that I talked way too much and I somehow seemed to exceed my “word quota” just about every single day. I feel like that didn’t change until this summer.
I listened to a talk this summer that was all about using words wisely. It wasn’t your classic “If you have nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything.” It was much more true and helpful than that. It was,
“If you don’t have anything positive or helpful to say, then why are you wasting your breath?”
So, after this talk, I began to really focus on my words. And not just my words, but my thoughts. Honestly, it is the most exhausting thing I have ever tried. I noticed how negative I was. I noticed how malicious the words that left my mouth really were. I noticed how much murder I was committing in my thoughts and how little I was loving people and serving them with my words. Needless to say, it was absolutely discouraging.
So I embarked on this new adventure of censoring myself. Not because I have a filthy, profane mouth, but because it was time to grow up. No more snide remarks or unnecessary stupid jokes. Hear me, I love jokes, but the amount of unnecessary stupid ones that came from my mouth was just…..yeah, it was time to take it down a notch. I started realizing that I had no desire to leave a legacy of “the funny guy” or “the troll.” Neither of those things does much for the Kingdom. I want to be known as a man who speaks wisdom and positivity rather than the boy to whom the crowd looks for a quick laugh or smile that will, in the end, be useless and fleeting. Hear me out, though; I do not by any means want people to think I’m anti-fun. All I want is for people to expect higher of themselves and each other.
So how exactly am I censoring myself?
Well, it all starts with me trying to just think before I speak. The process, I guess, starts with a thought; maybe it’s a comment, maybe it’s a funny (or not funny…) joke, maybe it’s a question. Then, I think “Is this beneficial?” Most of the time, I’ve found, the answer is no. It seems as though most of the things I have to say are either a complaint or a negative comment or just something stupid that does no one any good to hear. Sometimes are better than others. Some days are more positive than others. But I never expected an overnight mouth change. I knew it would be a process.
I guess the reason I feel so convicted about it is because not many other people do. And it’s not something that should just be my own personal conviction. I believe that the Bride of Christ is called to be more than just a bunch of complaining, gossiping, slanderers who end up showing people a mirror of themselves instead of Jesus.
It’s gonna be hard. It’s gonna be exhausting. You’re gonna hate the process; I still do. But, it’s so worth it knowing that you can speak life into someone just by saying something positive.
Be the difference.
Choose to put effort into your words.
Build people up, even if you aren’t talking about them.
Here’s my mom and I on a day that I’m sure I used up my word quota. Ain’t she pretty?