J. Gordon Duncan

Culture, Business, Fitness, Etc.

Loose Lips Sink Ships

The power of an errant or careless word is not evident until the damage is done.  And often, the damage goes unseen for a period of time because of the hurt that those words inflict.  Hurtful words cause people to retreat.  Speak a joking word at an improper moment and you may lose a friend or you may see group efforts and enthusiasm deteriorate.

I recently joked about something that others were greatly involved with and had put large amounts time in, and those words did damage that I was not aware of until good friends lovingly brought those words to my attention.  It took a lot more time to undo the damage of my loose words than it did to build good will with kind words.  Humility, confession, and wisdom were required to restore and rebuild.

I recently read a chapter from Bill Hybel’s book “Axiom” where he spoke about the power of words.  He recommended never going to a meeting with someone without taking a few notes.  No matter how wise and confident you are, never go to discuss a project without doing word preparation.  He also spoke of tirelessly thinking through even one word to cast vision because words have that much power.  He’ll often take a walk just to think about what the right word is to encapsulate and inspire.

Biblically, words either build up or tear down.  Vast portions of the Proverbs speak to this.  For example, Proverbs 11:9 says, “With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor,” and in verse 11 we see, “By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is overthrown.” With a word you can destroy a neighbor or exalt a city.

Today, what would it take for you to purposefully speak words that build up and are thoughtful instead of speaking words that tear down and are thoughtless?   Ask God to make your more aware of your careless words and pray that they can wise enough not to speak them.

This article also appears at the Raleigh Examiner.  Read it there and help me earn a penny.

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November 23, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

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