Watch Your Aim

Verbal Darts (Hope 4 Mondays)

Reblogged fromRest & Chaos

I love words. They can be beautiful, as in poetry or songs. They can sweep you away to far off lands. They can help you gain knowledge and truth. They can inspire and encourage us. They can make us smile and laugh. They can teach and guide us.

But sometimes they can also get us in a lot of trouble.

Especially if those words are born out of a strong feeling, like frustration or anger. I don’t know about you, but I tend to follow my feelings in the moment. I let my feelings dictate my thoughts and words even though my feelings can easily change.

We all know the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” And we all also know that it is a lie. Words can hurt.

Physical wounds can take days or weeks to recover from. On the other hand, emotional wounds can take years or even decades to heal.

I like to call the unpleasant words we use “verbal darts”. We may pride ourselves in the fact that we have never hit anyone physically, but how many verbal darts have we thrown their way? How many times have we let a spiteful word fly out of our mouth in the heat of the moment, without thinking about the damage that word might cause?

Just because we can’t SEE the wound that vicious word left on their heart doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Just because we can’t see them bleed, doesn’t mean we haven’t caused them pain. The fact that we can’t see the wound we left on their heart, just makes it easier to dismiss, to forget, or to deny that we did anything wrong.

I read a story on social media years ago. There was a man who wanted to teach his son the power of his words. He had his son pound a nail into a board every time he said something mean to someone. Once he apologized he could remove the nail. After about a week the man had his son look at the board. There were a lot of holes in it. Then he told his son this:

Every mean word you say is like a nail driven into someone’s heart. You can apologize and remove the nail, but you can’t fix the hole that those words left.

It’s a powerful visual of the damage our words can do.

This week let’s pay attention to our words and attempt not to hit anyone with a verbal dart. Let’s pray that God would help us to restrain our vindictive words, and instead help us to use our words to bring life and hope to others.

And when we do have strong emotions (as we most certainly will), let’s take a deep breath, and pray for God’s help to see the vulnerable heart right in front of us.