Saturday morning, while cleaning the dishes in my kitchen, the radio announcer quotes Proverbs 18:21, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." The more I read that verse, the more I understood exactly what the author was saying.
Recently, I read a status update on a friend's Facebook page. (Doesn't everything come from Facebook these days?!) Nothing out of the ordinary and nothing offensive at all in the post. However, lo and behold, another friend comes along, reprimanding them for their actions and pretty much throwing the judgement out there for all the world to see.
Let me take a quick pause and explain the verse. The first part is pretty self explanatory. We all have the power to tear down or build up by the words we speak. We can kill a relationship or we can cultivate it and let it grow. The second part is telling us that, if we love to talk, watch what we say. We will produce what comes out of our mouths. We will be known by either the positive, uplifting words, or the negative, crushing words we speak.
Getting back to my story. This friend continued to spew their thoughts and opinions on this post, regardless of the fact that there were other people who were paying attention to this conversation. Not only was my friend portraying a negative, judgmental, and self-righteous attitude, but it was not very Christian. Frankly, some things need to be left unsaid. Unfortunately, this is not the first time this has happened. They may have good intentions, but their execution is lacking wisdom.
Jesus said that offenses will come. He did not say that we need to go out of our way to make it happen! Proverbs 18:19, "A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle." Simply put: you offend someone and they will have nothing to do with you. You lose respect and credibility, as well as friendship. It will take a lot to tear down the wall they build up.
Listen to the wisdom of your parents and always think before you speak (or write!). That brief moment can give you clarity and, perhaps, save a relationship. When in doubt, do without...or just stop talking!