I spend a lot of time thinking about words. Words for a blog post, words for a story, words for instagram captions. I love words. I think they can change the world.
We've probably all been told at some point or another to be careful with our words. That they can hurt people. Sticks and stones, and all that.
I've always paid attention to how parents talk to their kids, but now that I have a baby it's something I notice even more. I find it heartbreaking how easily it seems to come to some people to say belittling and hurtful things to their child.
It's an election year, so we've all got those friends who feel the need to share their seemingly ignorant and unresearched opinions on the daily...the ones who will call you a range of colorful names when you disagree with them.
It's likely that you daily see examples of people (including yourself, probably!) who should have been more careful with their words. And by that, I mean they probably just never should have said them.
There's a verse that says "Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit-you choose." I love that. I love viewing our words as something so powerful...they can nourish or they can kill. I think that sometimes, we remember that we should be careful with what we say, but we forget how much power our words are capable of.
I think this is something I'll probably always struggle with. For most of my life I have been very nonconfrontational and avoided disrupting peace at all costs. Then some things happened where I really wish I would have spoken up and not been such a doormat, and that translated into me feeling like I had to say my opinion on everything, ever. Neither one of those sides is good. There's a middle ground in there somewhere.
I strongly believe you should vaccinate your kids. But do I need to say that to every single parent I come in contact with? No. It makes my blood boil when I hear people so casually say they won't be voting, because I think that it's a precious right that came at a very high cost. But do I need to write a lengthy Facebook post about it every single day? Nope. Then there are some things (Ahem, Brock Turner) that are just too big and too important to stay silent on.
So yes, we should be careful with our words. But in remembering how powerful they are, we can't forget to use them.
Your words are a powerful sword that you get to choose how to wield. In the simplest sense, you can use them to build someone up or tear them down. In a deeper sense, you can use them to argue pointlessly, or you can use them to change the world. You choose.
Don't put away the poison and forget to use the fruit.