I CAN AND I WILL: Stop and think before you use words

Rick Stanfield
Rick Stanfield

If you ask me where I ate lunch yesterday, I may not be able to remember. On the other hand, if you ask me what my Little League Baseball Coach told me in 1980, I can tell you word-for-word. I can’t remember the mediocre words that anyone said to me and this is not a column to condemn middling words because we must have them to fill in the voids.

The words I remember most are the extremely good, motivating, complimentary, helpful, and necessary. The problem is, I also remember the hurtful, unnecessary, and judgmental words uttered to me.

“Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:4

I recall my mother telling me “bite your tongue,” and this is probably the best advice anyone could give. I find myself biting my tongue frequently lately. It’s so easy to send a text, create a Facebook post, or belittle someone with a tweet. We do it without even thinking.

I’m not such an optimist that I don’t understand the necessity for harsh words, but it sickens me how we’ve made it a normality of life. Even though our thoughts may go places for which we repent, I choose to spend the rest of my life attempting to make my words Godly and not mediocre. I want to motivate, not tear down. I hope that if you encounter me, you’ll feel better when you walk away and not worse. Stop and think before you use words, because they matter.

Lord, direct my tongue to share the good news and when that does not surface easily in the heat of the moment, let me fall silent and spend my energy listening for your direction and awaiting tour peace.

Rick Stanfield is a syndicated columnist, professor, motivational speaker and author. For more information, visit his website at www.rickstanfield.com.