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Words Leave Scars

You can count on it: any pizza place worth its marinara sauce will be hopping on a Friday night. Pasta dishes and gourmet sandwiches made by scratch kept this high school girl flush with spending money, but it didn’t come without pressure.  One night, struggling to time the removal of dishes from the oven, I reached for a chicken parmesan without the use of oven mitts. My calloused fingertips could manage the pan, but in my haste, the grate seared my arm. Instantly, a red mark memorialized the moment. With time it healed, as all wounds do, but not without a scar.

In life, no one is immune to the reality that being wounded just comes with the territory whether physical, emotional, spiritual, or otherwise.  Scars represent both what we’ve been through and how it’s shaped us. While we may not always be in control of the source of our scars, we can be in control of the mark we leave on others around us.

 Our words can leave scars, sometimes permanent. I’m reminded of a famous scene from Bambi when Thumper, the long-eared and loveable bunny was corrected by his mother. After saying something in bad taste, she had him recite his father’s advice that was imparted to him earlier that morning, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”  

As mothers, we teach our children the heavy weight our words carry, but we must also model this behavior in challenging and stressful circumstances. What is my natural reaction after being cutoff in traffic? How do I react to my children after a difficult day? What about the neighbor I just don’t click with? How do I choose to speak?  

God has a clear position on the gravity of our words. A quick google search reveals that in the book of Proverbs, Solomon referenced the power our tongue holds 21 times! Proverbs 18:21 says “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” 

With every encounter during our day, we have a choice as to how we will respond, whether with family, friends, or even the barista after a long wait at the coffee shop drive-thru window.  We can leave a scalding red mark like the one produced by the scorching oven grate or the hope and positivity that soothes another’s soul. What mark will your words leave? 

Proverbs 21:23 in the Message Translation says, “Watch your words and hold your tongue; you’ll save yourself a lot of grief.”

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