In the last half of the 21st century, there was a concerted effort to control the stockpiling of nuclear weapons. Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the two superpowers — the United States and Russia — were in a mad race to gain nuclear superiority.
But now that the Cold War has frozen and we have made progress controlling automatic and nuclear weapons, there is another weapon far more devastating than the hydrogen bomb, more destructive than a guided missile and more deadly than a machine gun.
It’s a small weapon, recessed in the crevice of our mouth that packs more power than anything ever manufactured. This weapon is the tongue, and if it’s not properly controlled, it can be the deadliest weapon in existence.
Now, I’m faithful enough to believe that with the proper desire and attitude and some good old-fashioned divine assistance, the tongue can be tamed and brought under control.
The Holy Spirit has formulated some rules that you can follow to achieve tongue control:
1. Never speak when you’re angry.
2. Always think twice before you speak once.
3. Before you speak, always ask yourself this question, “Will anyone be embarrassed, hurt or ridiculed by what I am about to say?”
4. Are you sure that what you’re about to say is the absolute truth?
5.Would Jesus approve of what you’re about to say?
Here’s a sample illustrated in a story:
A cartoon depicts a woman shaking hands with her pastor as she leaves the church. The caption says, “Thank you for the sermon. It was like water to a drowning man.”
Some compliments are better left unsaid.
Isn’t it true that words carry with them immense power? Power to build up and power to tear down. Such was the case with the words of May, a woman who learned that there is no wrong time to say the right thing.
It was a cold, rainy day in March. Lisa, a woman about May’s age, sat across the room in the millinery department of the store where May worked. Other workers did not like Lisa. They thought her to be snobbish and aloof, and May agreed.
But sweeping the bias from her eyes, she made up her mind to say something kind to Lisa.
Finally, she managed, “Do you know, Lisa, that I’ve worked in this room with you for several years, and whenever I glance up, I see your head silhouetted against the window there behind you. I think you have the prettiest profile and hair that I have ever seen on anybody.”
Her words were not insincere flattery; she meant it.
Lisa looked up and began to cry.
“That’s the first kind word anybody has ever said to me in all the years I’ve been working here,” she said.
May discovered that Lisa’s aloofness was not due to her being snobbish, but the fact was she was very shy. The two became instant friends. Other workers soon began to include Lisa in their activities, and she blossomed like a flower that had received sunlight for the first time.
The right words, spoken in kindness, changed a life. Never underestimate the power of your words. There is no wrong time to say the right thing, and there is no better time than now.
Williams is the pastor of Bethel AME Church and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance of Liberty County.