"You'll regret opening your mouth. You'll rarely regret keeping it shut." --Max Lucado, When God Whispers Your Name
I can remember word for word what my employer said to me almost ten years ago. I'd done what I thought was a great job. I knew I'd been trying my hardest. I put my heart into my work. And I felt good about the things I was accomplishing. So that's why I felt pretty blindsided when the words "immature" and "irresponsible" came from my employer's lips.
I spent the three weeks following that exchange depressed, watching my back, and overthinking every single thing I did. Nothing changed after those words on my employer's end. My employer continued on as though he'd never said those things. But the damage had been done to my heart. He'd said some things that really made me question everything I'd been doing. And even though we say "sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me", most of us know that's not exactly true.
You might remember a time when a kid on the playground called you fat when you were eight. Or maybe someone told you that you were stupid when you failed that one math test. Or when you think about hurtful words, the girl in middle school who made fun of your clothes comes to mind.
See, once we say things to other people, it's pretty hard to take them back.
Ten years from now, it's so much better to be remembered as the girl who was liberal with her encouragement than the one who always had something negative to say. Think about what you're going to add to the conversation and if it's not true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8), then don't let the words leave your lips.
PS: My employer ended up apologizing to me a couple of weeks later. The words still stung for a while, but all was forgiven.
Has someone ever used powerful words to make you feel less-than-awesome? Or to make you feel on top of the world? How can you encourage someone with the things you say today?
Ashley was the editorial assistant for BRIO Magazine until the magazine was shuttered in January 2009. Now she freelances, occasionally writing articles for SUSIE Magazine, and writing her own fiction. She also has a blog, which you can find at http://www.ashleywritesagain.blogspot.com/. If you want to chat, look her up on facebook. Want to know more? Visit her website: http://www.ashley-mays.com/.