by Robert Earl Houston
You can utter a simply harmless phrase and if it is interpreted correctly or incorrectly it can have far reaching ramifications. Whether it’s a parent talking to a child or co-worker to co-worker or relative to relative or even two people who have never met each other, a word unfitly spoken is not productive and can have long-term damages in its wake.
It’s akin to trying to grow a small potted plant in a store which, according to the label, has the capacity to grow taller and strong, and then watering it with a poisonous substance. What occurs is not growth – it’s nothing more than death. Whether it comes immediately or next week, the end result is the same – death. Whether it comes this year or five years from now, the end result is the same – death.
Our words can have profound impacts upon the minds of the unlearned and immature, who may not be able to process certain types of speech or have no counterbalance in place to weigh out that which is harmful or a filter to removal painful bacteria before it reaches the cortex of the brain.
I’ve seen it happen when a custodial parent will make a remark about a non-custodial parent for the sheer pleasure of inflicting and sharing unresolved pain of the breakup of a relationship – not to the party that they have issue with, but upon a small child. It’s poison.
I’ve seen it happen with churches when gossip flies around the corridors of the congregation and rather than to filter it out using prayer, it’s allowed to take root and chokes off the vibrancy of that church. It’s poison.
I’ve seen it happen in society when members of one political party say hateful, disrespectful things about the opposition, and then one crazy individual acts upon that hatred and takes drastic measures including the opposition of doing harm to another person. It’s poison.
There is an admonition to “speak well” is found in James 4:11: “Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.”
Don’t poison the tender plants around you, please!