I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look on her face. As soon as the words rushed out of my mouth, I regretted saying them, but they tumbled out faster than I could pull them back. Once they were out there, the damage was done.
We were eleven years old that summer at church camp, and for the first time in my life, the “cool” girls were paying attention to me. Wanting to make myself more acceptable to them, I tried to distance myself from my closest friend. And when the line was drawn in the sand, I outright denied our friendship right to her face.
Even though we eventually reconciled, and she graciously forgave me, the shame of that moment still burns whenever it comes to mind. More than twenty-five years later, I still feel awful for the words I said.
I’m constantly in awe of the power of words. They can bring life and love and joy and peace. They can also bring utter destruction in a matter of seconds. “Sticks and stones can break your bones but words will never hurt”? I beg to differ.
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21 NIV).
If I asked you to remember a time in your life when you said something you regret, I bet it wouldn’t be too difficult to think of several times. I’m also willing to wager you’ve had at least a handful of hurtful things said to you over the years…
I’d love for you to click through to The Glorious Table to read the remainder of this post. Join us in a conversation about the power of words and how we can speak life into one another.