"If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."
A friend of mine posted this saying on social media yesterday and received negative feedback. I'm sure she was crushed.
I know well the point she was trying to make. I grew up hearing the same words, the ones my father used particularly through my teenaged years, when girls were mean and gossip was even meaner. When perspective was all about keeping kindness and remembering that what we put out into the universe has a way of coming back to us.
I think we would all do well to be mindful of our words.
Okay, so there are times we need to use our words in ways that aren't so pleasant. Of course. There are occasions in which we must absolutely take a stand, be brave, and speak for what we know is true. But what if we were all quick to listen and slow to speak? What if we were quick to understand and slow to accuse?
What if we t treated people the way we wanted to be treated?
What a wonderful world that would be!
My father lived those words. In all the years I knew him, I don't remember him ever thinking an unkind thought about anyone, let alone voicing such. He was a better human than me in this regard. I lost him years ago but some of the things he taught me will live on forever.
Like our ability to build up with words. Words shouldn't tear down. Once they are out there, they live on--the good, the bad, and the ugly. Forever and ever.
There are plenty of verses in the Bible that speak to this. The one that really stands out to me is Matthew 12:36, where Jesus tells us our words are being recorded, remembered, for the day we face our Maker. "I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak." (ESV Translation)
If God merely spoke all of creation into existence, think about all we could create with the right words!
Oh God, help me create through words like you do! Help me to choose my words wisely. And when I don't have anything positive to contribute, hold my tongue.