Wednesday Wisdom Tip – Build or Break?



As we stood waiting for a table in our favorite out-of-town restaurant, I hear my girl’s voices escalating behind me. “You’ve been putting me down all day and I am sick of it!” my oldest says in a sharp tone. I wasn’t quite sure what was going on between them, but I was thinking “They better not ruin our dinner!”

Turning around to try to help settle the dispute, I see tears running down one’s eyes and change my mind about getting involved.  I better stay out of it and let them work it out. 

Minutes later, they’re hugging and I begin to wonderWhat is going on?”  As we head to our table, my oldest daughter reveals the crux of the problem. We had spent the day looking at colleges and her sister was grieving her up-and-coming loss. The way she was dealing with her pain was with cutting words.

My girl is not alone, is she? Often, when we are in pain, words fly that are hurtful to those around us. Failing to properly process our feelings, we project them on those closest to us.

Proverbs 12:18 gives us so much wisdom: “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” NIV

In the next couple of days, when you are upset, stop long enough to process what all is taking place in your heart. Before you speak thoughtlessly or rashly, put the dagger back in your sheath. Use this time instead to share with your child how you are feeling, how you wanted to react, but how you are instead chosing to use your words for healing.

Every word I speak today either builds or breaks; none of them are benign. 



  1. Lynn, thank you so much for this timely post. God has used your words to bless and encourage me, as I’ve been speaking with my kiddos on this very subject. We’ve been camping out in James, being quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, and watching out for the powerful destruction our tongues can cause. It’s tough in the heat of the moment to sheath the dagger, but so incredible when we can see what is causing our friend or family member to hurt. Then, our words can be a salve instead of a source of more pain! Keep on!

    1. Thanks Bethany! I especially struggle this one when it is late at night! When I am tired, self-control is even harder to find. Lord – help me practice what I preach!

  2. While I don’t have children, this is still really applicable! I love that verse from Proverbs.

    1. Kate – every situation we are in has an opportunity to build or break doesn’t it? Office, neighbors, school…all around us are people we effect.

  3. probably the hardest tip to adhere to, but probably the most important. Yes, we hit back when we are hurting and usually not at the person who hurt us…thanks for sharing!

    1. Holly, You are so right! My children have seen this in me so often they now ask, “What happened today?” or “What is wrong?”. I grown a little wiser…I now try to beat them to it and explain when I am upset or out of sorts so they can understand when I am a bit “off”. That still is no excuse for words that are hurtful, but it helps us all to understand each other a bit more!

  4. As an Army wife who’s been through multiple deployments, this has been a huge battle I face each time my husband gets ready to deploy. It’s one of those things that I KNOW it won’t help, it’s just remembering it at the moment and making the most precious and sacred memories I can in the last days of our time together before he heads off to war.

    God’s blessings

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