Words of Worth

Destroy or deliver?

August 24, 2010

The headline immediately caught my eye:  “Words again haunting Senate hopeful” – I didn’t read the article so I’m not sure what was uttered that could hurt the candidate’s bid for political office but one thing is for sure – something that was said is now being regretted.

Words matter.  We often hear people in the public eye make apologies for remarks said in haste or anger.  Sometimes they even have to own up to comments voiced “off mike” or “off the record” if it actually is captured and broadcast to the masses.

While we can’t avoid talking altogether, we can make some better choices throughout the day with what we say.  For example, Proverbs 11:9 says,

“With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor; But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered.”

Destroy or deliver?

Careless words spoken about someone else can and will destroy.  It’s easy to slip into casual gossip, but who really is your neighbor?  A neighbor is defined as “someone living nearby”.  No one is more “near” me than my family – am I being careless with my words in my own home?   How about the workplace?  If you are employed fulltime outside the home, you certainly spend the bulk of your day with your work “neighbors.

Instead of destroying, how about delivering?  The second part of the verse says, “Through knowledge the righteous will be delivered.”  Now technically, that doesn’t say your words will deliver someone else but think a minute.  Imagine a situation with your neighbor (or maybe your closest neighbor under the same roof) that causes you to be angry or hurt.  Before you react, stop and consider – do you know all the details of the story?   For example, your teenage son comes home after curfew and slams the door.  Your first impulse might be to scream at him – that’s a reaction.

Your coworker brushes off your greeting and later refuses to engage.  You begin thinking about how you will snub her at lunch.  But consider instead how you might respond in the situation.  Did you ask any questions?  Did you listen carefully to what the person is saying and take time to notice the body language or tone of voice? Maybe taking a moment to find out more information will give you the knowledge you need to deliver you and those you love from a situation that is more hurtful than it needs to be.

Destroy or deliver?

React or respond?

It just takes a minute to make all the difference.

In the next blog entry, we will consider the difference between being a talebearer or being trustworthy.

Looking for more words?  Read Galatians 6:8-10.  Take the time this week to notice the opportunities to do good (deliver instead of destroy) all people.  Determine to listen with your eyes, ears, and your heart.

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