When I was a little girl we used to sing this song in Sunday school:
“O be careful little tongue what you say
O be careful little tongue what you say
For the Father up above
is looking down in love
So, be careful little tongue what you say.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqFrXwpT)
And this is only a part of the song, but the caution was evident and potent. The Proverbs are replete with warnings about how we use our tongues, the effect we can have on one another.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue,” says Proverbs 18:21a.
I cannot count the times words have devastated and wounded me. Words have washed like acid over me, burnt me.
Sticks and stones
Unlike the old saying, “sticks and stones can break your bones but words can never hurt you;” words, they can slice you open. Words can bleed you, leech life, bring heartache. They can diminish you, mock you, make you want to sink into the floor, become invisible.
So, when I read Ann Voskamp’s post last night, you can find it here: (https://annvoskamp.com/2019/03/dont-give-your-critic-words/) , written by guest author, Emily P. Freeman, I instantly related.
What can we do?
We know that sometimes we need words that speak correction or a change of course. You and I need those who will love us enough to challenge, or speak truth to us. So, we would do well to pay attention to those words. But those are not the words I am talking about here.
It’s what we do with destructive, painful words. And Emily points the way. She ends the post with a prayer: beautiful, simple, and heartfelt.
I’d like to share it with you, may it bring you a measure of peace and comfort, it did so for me.
As we consider the decisions that weigh heavy on our minds, we don’t want to give our critic words.
Keep us in our stillness.
Quiet us in your presence.
Remind us of your love.
Replace the words of the critic with your words of peace.
As we lean our ear toward your heartbeat, allow our voices to rise up in your presence.
Then be our courage as we simply do our next right thing in love.