Words. Written. Spoken. Muttered. Whispered. Yelled. Signed. Shouted. Sung. Silence.
Words and how we use them are some of the most profound ways we can impact others. If words weren’t so important, there wouldn’t be so many memes about words and how we use them.
Ok, maybe there would be “all the memes” because let’s face it, there are memes about even really unimportant things. But, I digress.
Mother Teresa said, “Kind words are short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
The truth is, all words, kind and otherwise, have the power to echo through our hearts and minds for years and years. Perhaps even more truth is found in this statement:
Because all words’ echoes are endless, Choose your words wisely.
If it crossed our minds for even a second in the heat of the moment, how our words in yesterday’s fight would continue to scar and tear down for days and weeks and months to come, perhaps just maybe we would season our words with kindness. We would filter our thoughts. Or we would hold our tongue.
So, the point is to be prudent. And don’t just choose your words wisely. Choose your silence carefully. What about those times when we should speak, but we don’t? What about that compliment left unsaid? What about those manners that we checked at the door of the restaurant? Maybe we tested them at our mom’s dinner table 15 or 20 years ago, and we never went back for them. What about the apology we owe? What about the forgiveness we should convey? Where are all those words? And what causes us to leave them unsaid? What do kind words really cost you? Nothing. And TobyMac is right, to an extent. But sometimes, kind words cost you a big dose of “swallow your pride.” Or they cost you the “small” price of stepping out of your comfort zone.
So, Mom, let me ask you this, when is the last time you held your tongue when you should have spoken? Or the last time you spoke when you should have held your tongue?
Did you leave an apology to your child unspoken because you just couldn’t let your child see you be wrong, vulnerable, or weak?
When did you last model for your kid’s poor manners in a public place?
When did you last chose the hurtful phrase over the helpful phrase when talking to your significant other?
Do some deep self-reflection. Here. Now. Take some time to be real with yourself. Where do you need to grow? Where can you improve? Where can you be a better role-model for your littles loves who are watching your every move? Listening to your every word. Noting your silence.
If you find in yourself even a glimmer of shame or guilt in this topic, if I’ve struck a nerve and un-nerved you just a bit, do me a favor. Step out of the self-shaming zone and into a field of self-love and forgiveness. But don’t walk back to your old way of doing things either. Take this opportunity to prune away what needs to be tossed in the fire.
How do I do that? How do I filter my mouth? OR how do I know when I should speak up?
To answer the first question, ask yourself these questions before speaking:
- Is it true?
- Is it kind?
- Is it necessary?
Depending on how much time you spend on social media, these popular three questions aren’t new to you! If they are, or if you want to know more, you can find more on this topic here.
And to answer the next question, think about this calling from the book of Thessalonians in the Bible,
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up….”
If you feel a calling to be kind, answer that call. Speak up.
Words. Written. Spoken. Powerful. Echoes. Silence. Shame. Forgiveness. Peace.
As I start writing for Lubbock Moms Blog, this topic weighs heavily on my heart. What an honor. What a blessing to get to share my thoughts. My words. But how do I choose the right words? How do I know where silence is best or when a little feather-ruffling with truth is what’s needed? How do I use my words to encourage the community of Lubbock, or call the moms in our community to a higher standard? How do I convey what I know in my heart to be a universal truth: all are loved and worthy of kindness.
My answer: I lean into what I’ve always known to guide me. To give me the words when I don’t know what to say or how to say it. The One who gives me the strength to give up my fights lay down the sword that is my tongue, and apologize.
With that, I’ll leave you with these “Words” by Hawk Nelson here.