...the tongue is a small thing, but makes great speeches. but, a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.
inspired from a discussion among friends, which left me feeling convicted: words have great power, and the way we wield them makes them weapons of good or ill. we don't often think about it, but we have a great amount of responsibility with words, with how our tongue emits speech. the "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" couldn't be more false...words can do more than hurt, they can permanently damage, leaving the deepest type of burns, bruises, and scars on the hearts and spirits of others. there is no salve for them, no anecdote. they can become an echoing poison that circulates without end in the blood of our deepest thoughts.
we are more aware of the negative impact of words, the tongue’s daunting potential for ill. we think less upon equally powerful ability of the tongue to bringing blessings. looking at proverbs alone, words can be: "sterling silver", "helpful", "wise advice," "a tree of life," "like honey-sweet to the soul and healthy for the body," "deep waters," "more valuable than much gold and many rubies. words can "encourage many," "bring many benefits", "bring healing," "can satisfy like a good meal." the tongue can bring an exponential variety of blessings, in all sorts of packaging.
we should not only be mindful of the words we use, but the words we withhold. if we were truly looking, each day, almost every interaction with another human being we have in our moment-to-moment life, provides opportunities to bless others with words. our tongues can bring encouragement, sympathy, comfort, compliment, kindness, healing, and affirmation. sometimes, when the Spirit has prompted me to do so, i hesitate or skirt around the pull to use my words to bless. for some reason it is intimidating at times to step out and say something heartfelt, deep, and kind...because how will it be received? will the gift of my words be accepted? misinterpreted? will they just find me odd for saying something more than just superficial pleasantries? the state of our society is to keep everything light and uncomplicated. but whose heart or life is either of those things? truly?
this led me to thinking of how many conversations i have daily, in which i ask something to the degree of "how are you?" and i get the standard-issue-response of "fine?" it has become a hoop we all jump through, something that must be said to get on with what needs doing in our ever-so-important schedule. this thought renewed a personal challenge: ask sincere questions, questions intended to shake off the mask of superficial "life-is-swell”, really ask in order to really know someone. if you ask sincere questions, you tend to get sincere answers. you or the person you are asking might find this uncomfortable at first, you might become anxious about a real conversation emerging, one that may take several minutes, or several hours, or a life time of similar conversations, rather than a quick 1 or 2 minute case-closed situation. you may be fearful of taking on the responsibility of deepening friendship, of coming along side someone to carry their burdens with them by truly getting to know who they are. but you won't regret it. the times i get past my selfishness, use my tongue to deliver sincere questions or sincere words of encouragement, i have always been blessed back.
so, if our tongues are a spark that can set a forest aflame, let it be a fire unexpected, one the modern world finds foreign: a fire of sincere words intended to lighten the loads on the soul and to truly know the hearts of those in our lives.