Words Matter

Pr 18 20

During my teens and twenties, I said whatever came to mind. And since depression reigned during those years, what I said often failed to benefit anyone. A habit of careless words indicated a much larger problem within the atmosphere of my inner self.

While raising a toddler, the impact of my words on myself and others suddenly jumped out in stark contrast to the person I wanted to be. The desire to change went well beyond what others thought of me – my reputation – and straight to the heart of the person I truly was – my character.

My character displeased God. Nothing else mattered. And if I failed to control my words, I knew the consequences would be significant. My careless words indicated a problem deep within, and the solution came first through conviction (Matthew 28:12:36-37), then through accepting grace (Romans 4:7-8), and then through obedience.

You see, confessing the problem and accepting forgiveness started the process. Following the path of obedience – conforming my likeness to His – needed to follow in order for my life to truly please my Heavenly Father.Pr 18 21

In this still-ongoing process, many lessons stand out regarding the significance of the words I say.

  1. Careless words reveal unchecked emotions.
  2. Careless words mean a lack of self-control over my influences.
  3. Careless words say more about the speaker than the receiver.
  4. Careless words indicate an out-of-balance inner atmosphere.
  5. The more I try to control situations and people, the more careless words I say.
  6. The more I talk, the less others (especially my kids) seem to listen.
  7. Admitting to careless words means admitting to a deeper problem, usually pride.
  8. Fear of being misunderstood often causes me to say too much.
  9. Lack of sleep and proper nourishment impact the ability to control my words.
  10. Writing slows thoughts down and causes careful consideration of my words.

Careless words now exist as an indicator that some aspect of my inner self needs aligned. And, the sooner I make the necessary adjustments, the less impact the consequences have on myself and others.

DISCUSSION: What might your careless words be trying to tell you?

26 thoughts on “Words Matter

  1. if I may be so blunt: my careless words are telling me to "shut up." Unfortunately, I have clogged ears sometimes. I have gotten better with age but still stay things I wish I could take back in a heartbeat.
    My recent post Clarity

    • Of course you may be blunt. My words are telling me the same thing, actually. I am actually working on a post about the timing of words, and it's focusing on listening more and talking less. Not what I expected, but God is smarter than me, so I'm going with it. Basically, the more I listen, the less I am saying things I need to wish I could take back.

    • Yeah, me too Loren. Except, I'm not good at hiding my attitude. If I can manage to control my tone, my facial expressions and demeanor rat me out. Having our careless words be convicting is a good place to be. It's when they aren't that we should be very, very worried.

  2. Great post. Number 5 and 8 really hit me hard. I'm learning to slow down, to take my emotions to God BEFORE I start speaking. I'm also learning that when I pop off it's because my focus in on me and how I feel (especially when I can't control a situation). I need to take a step back and rest before God. Some days it's easier than others.

    This learning is a slow process…so thankful God is full of grace!

    • You're so right, some days are easier than others for sure. I also agree that it's a slow process. God's grace & mercy are the only reasons we can stick with it for the long haul.

  3. Words demonstrate a lot as your post illustrates. Typically my words indicate where my thoughts are, or where they have been. Often times they indicate listening or not listening – ugh! Enjoyed your post and the other related to words.

    • Words definitely reveal what's in the heart. Even if we try to conceal it, we'll find that's it's impossible to do so in the long run. And yes, listening is a huge key. More on that in a future post. Thanks!

  4. My careless words have told me that I have often chosen to speak of others in ways I do not want to speak. My careless words also show that I speak of that which I am thankful for(my job) at times disrespectful.

  5. The word "careless" prompted me to check out Proverbs again. "Carelessness kills; complacency is murder" (1:32); "careless talk may ruin everything" (13:3b); "careless living kills" (19:16b) (all quotes from The Message). A person doesn't regret words never spoken. I've had plenty though to regret. And like cycleguy, my foolish words have reminded me to speak less and listen more.

    • Proverbs certainly has a lot to say on the topic, which tells me it's a topic I need to pay attention too. Listening more is such a terrific tool to help us have more care with our words.

  6. I'm with Bill. That's really the message God has given me lately — talk less, pray more. Talking a lot typically means that I'm trying to get something from others that I need to be getting from the Lord. With that, I will "stop talking." 🙂

  7. Kari, Your list is right on target. Through experience I've learned hard lessons so often I've finally gotten better at listening first, but you're absolutely right . . . fatigue, poor-health, poor-nutrition, and fear can set me back faster than I'd like to admit. Then it's go through the conviction, repent, and change process once again.
    My recent post Help – It’s Organize Your Home Day

    • I am big on preventing these situations from coming up, from eliminating the state we get in when we're tired, hungry, etc. as much as possible, to keep us able to be better in our relationships. Scriptures says to love God and then love others AS yourself. How can we love others if we don't love ourselves by taking care of ourselves? Our communication is a perfect example of this playing out.

  8. The Proverbs always have so much to say about words. Sometimes my wife tells me when my words were not appropriate. For some reason I was completely unaware at the time I said them. It amazes me how I often need the perspective of my wife to really understand the impact of my words.
    My recent post The Ugly Truth About Me

    • Great point about needing others perspective. We usually do not have an objective opinion about our own words & tone. We need safe people to help us out. My husband does the same for me. Thanks, Caleb.

  9. Personally, whenever I start using careless or negative words, I either have an inner issue to resolve or I need rest. Over the years I’ve made it a point to be self-aware of those two areas so that my words will not harm myself or those around me. Sometimes I’m good about my words while other times I’m not. Great thoughts in this post!

  10. Pingback: Tone Matters |

  11. Careless words have gotten me in more trouble than not. I have had to do years of mended relationships and some of those have not been fixed. Unfortunately I had to learn over time when to be quiet and when to speak. To take a moment to speak. I think that I have actually been more quiet since my mentor as been in my life. She only speaks when necessary and is straight to the point. I have learned if I keep my thoughts to myself more thatn I have less to apologize for later. Awesome Article. They just get better and better.

    • Yeah, me too. Again, learn from them and move forward. Do your part. You cannot control others. You've learned that if you're not sure, don't speak. Listening & hearing someone out is always a good idea. You'll know when the right time is to speak if you listen enough. Plus, get closer to God… that will improve everything, I promise.

  12. Pingback: Idle Words |

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *