Once, many years ago, my boys were at the lake, throwing stones into the water. They tried to skip rocks, make bigger splashes than their brothers, and generally just had competition for who had the most muscles. One of the boys got angry with his brothers and threw a rock right at them, hitting one of the sisters on her back instead of hitting the brother he was aiming at. Chaos reigned for a time, while I got mad at the boys and tried to sooth a screaming, crying, very much in pain daughter.
In my life, I have learned that angry and insensitive words, can be a lot like that inaccurately thrown rock. The words we fling can bring pain and suffering to those we never intended to hurt.
In the new Testament we read:
“If any man bridleth not his tongue, this man’s religion is vain” (James 1:26)..Our words can and will condemn us. To me, this means that the words we speak have meaning and consequences. We have to be willing to change not just our actions, but the things we say as well. To say it, even when you don't really mean it, can still have lasting consequences. Words reflect what we are thinking and feeling. They can be happy or sad, angry, bitter, nasty, belittling, degrading, kind, gentle, and even loving.
While some prefer to use words in anger and meanness, others use their words to uplift and edify those around them. The choice in what we say and do is always ours.
I have often wondered how differently I would treat others if I could see them the way that my Heavenly Father sees them. How would I speak to my children, if I saw them through the eyes of God? When I think about how our Heavenly Father looks at each of us, it makes me see my fretting, frowning teenager just a little different than I saw her a moment ago. I see her potential, and her worth. I see who she might become, and even a little of who she wants to be. I see, and love her. And for a moment, that is enough.
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” Mother Teresa of Calcutta
“One of the greatest expressions of love is simply to notice people and to pay attention to them. If you really want to know God, go to his people….. Rather than read twenty books on servant-hood, get the idea, and then serve people. Some of us have experimented with this little prayer: “Lord, lead me today to someone whom I can serve.” – Richard Foster