Your Words: Gems Or Daggers?
by Bonita Bennett
…But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil
full of deadly poison. For out of the same mouth proceed
blessings and cursings. The Bible: James 3: 2-12
Over dinner one evening, a friend vented serious anger over a comment made by an old schoolmate she had bumped into earlier that day. The woman had commented on how she almost didn’t recognize her, because of her “huge weight gain.” My friend couldn’t fathom how someone could make such an insensitive comment and not seem to realize it. In fact, she recounted how when she told the woman her comment was inappropriate, the woman became angry and stormed away. My friend was so upset, she was unable to eat. Her story reminded me of an incident in my own life when a “close friend” woke me up at 2am one morning to inform me that she had just seen a guy I was dating out with another woman. It turned out to be his sister, but when I failed to express appreciation for her call, she became offended, and accused me of being overly-sensitive.
I think most of us know that words can be deadly weapons in the mouth of a careless user, and at the same time be honeycomb on the lips of a lover, a true friend or an admirer. However, there are not enough of us who have adopted the practice of using words as God intended…to uplift, inspire and encourage.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve heard several bitter accounts from those who still suffer from the sting of what I call “loose words” said to them in the course of anger, insensitivity or just plain ignorance from those whose judgment they trusted. I know many people who haven’t spoke to someone in years because of an unkind or insensitive remark that was never forgotten. Words can be gems or daggers, and I have found that only a dedicated few make a conscious effort for them to be “jewels.” A dentist friend once told me that when his ex-wife made a very insensitive remark about his “bedroom skills” he left her and never went back.
Words are things that can never be withdrawn and are usually grasped by the heart, whether they are good or bad. They are personal and can be held onto tightly until the end of time. I have never forgotten the things I’ve said that I wish could be retrieved. Therefore, now I strive to make it a practice to use words as blessings…and it is not always easy. Our opinions, distastes, and feelings often scream at us to speak them out loud. And I must admit, I can recall instantly those things said to me that cut like a knife through my soul.
Words carry a power, all their own, to raise up or destroy, and since we are the caretakers of our tongues, it is vital that we consider the consequences and impact of what we say before we say it. One simple rule is to say unto others what we would have others say unto us. I know a number of people who are “swashbucklers” with their tongues, because it adds height, boldness and glamour to a personality that might otherwise lack it. They shoot from the hip with verbal arrows, make derogatory remarks under the banner of “joking,” and die a hard death when they are recipients of the same. The man or woman, who can control their tongue like the helm of a ship, escapes the pain of personal regret and social disdain.
Interestingly, those who do aspire to control their tongues seem to understand the magnificent impact of using words or language that leave a positive memorable impression. President Barack Obama made speaking positively on all levels an art form, especially when he was under attack.. We would all do well to follow his example.
Bonita Bennett, founder, publisher Of Being Single Magazine and a former TV/radio personality, is the author of the books “How To Catch & Keep The Man Of Your Dreams,” and The Coming Of Dawn. She is also a nationally recognized life coach/relationship expert, and noted motivational speaker, whose life-changing counseling techniques, classes and innovative workshops on life-skills, inter-personal relationships, conflict management, and problem solving are well-known in her field. Bonita Bennett is also the editor-in-chief of Being Single Magazine. Be sure to get your copy of her two books…Meanwhile, read the excerpts from the mystery novel…The Coming Of Dawn and How To Catch & Keep The Man Of Your Dreams