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 wonder “What 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.