It’s time we started really taking note of our actions.
Rather, we need to start taking note of our words. The adage goes, “actions speak louder than words,” and while it may (or may not) be true, we shouldn’t downplay just how much weight comes out of our words. The words you choose could mean the difference of life and death for someone. It could be the difference between a compliment or an insult. Diction is important. Every word has a connotation and it can’t be ignored when studying the context. Take these examples:
“That girl is really slender.” vs “That girl looks emaciated.”
“That man is a little rough around the edges.” vs. “That man is an imbecile.”
Of course, these are pretty extreme examples but I’m sure you can think of a few examples that aren’t so.
You have to be especially careful of this if you’re in a position of authority. Far too many times have I seen teachers and pastors poke fun at kids the same way that kids are–and the immediate look of pain on the kid’s face. Teachers and pastors are there to build the children up, not tear them down. Likewise for friends–it’s okay to poke fun at friends for being ridiculous or dropping the ball on something, but if you keep making fun of the same person for repeat offenses or for things that are hard to control (i.e. weight), it’ll eventually take a toll on him or her.
Words of affirmation are incredibly important nowadays, especially in church. I’ve been around people who were so harsh to each other that I’ve wondered if my non-Christian friends would even say that. We live in a society that’s constantly telling us that we aren’t good enough and that our dreams our unattainable. Would it kill you to encourage your peers every once in a while?