A great part of human life is passed in talking. How many millions of words are uttered in the course of a long human life! Whenever we speak we must speak as we ought. Words of our mouth must be like the stars of heaven, fitted to illumine the dark places of creation.
If we think twice before we speak once, we will speak twice the better for it. The tongue has been placed it between the head and the heart that it might take counsel of both. The tongue is death or life, poison or medicine, as it is used.
All our words are set on wheels. If they are good words, they are wheeling on for good. If they are evil words, they go wheeling on for evil. Remember this.
Given at the right time, a brief word can change a life. A good time for a word of love and encouragement is that when one has suffered bereavement, disappointment, or any other kind of extreme discouragement or loss.
When we consider the importance of speech, the ease with which we speak, and the pleasure we derive from this faculty, no wonder so much labor has been taken to improve it. Hundreds of rhetoricians have given rules respecting “the art of speaking well.”
Words prove what you are. Be Kind. Be Gentle. Be Powerful. Be Positive. Be Good. Be Loving.
Words of encouragement.
Who is not weighed upon with sore distress? Who is not loaded with the burden and the weight of tasks beyond one’s power? Who is not distasteful to one’s inclinations or prolonged to exhaustion, or toiled at with little hope and less interest? Who is not weary of oneself and of one’s load? We are all ‘pilgrims weary of time,’ and some of us are worn out with work. Some of us buffeted to all but exhaustion by sorrow, and all of us long for comfort and encouragement, though many of us do not know where to look for it.
Our words must be like painters arising to adorn a dingy city. Like poets singing of summer in the winter of discontent. Like flowers in the wilderness. Like wells in the desert, bringing life, strength and gladness to the helpless and despondent.
Words of comfort.
We have no distance to go to find a human life that needs a consoling word. On the next foot of land to ours stands a person who craves for comfort. There are times in life when the word of instruction would be an injury and the elaborated argument a great hurt. Kind, earnest, heartfelt words, born of sympathy sustain the weary and comfort the down-hearted. Who can ever calculate the new strength poured by them into fainting hearts and languid hands, the dead hopes that they have reanimated, the sorrows they have comforted, the wounds they have stanched?
Words of health.
The tongue of the wise is slower but healthier. The wise weigh their words. They are anxious to be associated only with judgments that can be confirmed by experience and illustrated by wisdom. The wise speak healthily — that is to say, they speak out of the abundance of their own health and speak in a way that will double and strengthen the health of listeners. To come near them is to ascend a mountain and breathe the fresh air, or to go down by the seashore and receive messages across the great deeps, full of vigor, and truth, and strengthening influence. The wise keep society healthy. A fair and noble utterance of a wise thought gives it a new charm, a new and victorious energy.
Words of advice.
The one having neither silver or gold gives help by words of advice. Good words are sometimes more precious than gold to those in need. The world will never know what it owes to those people who have advised and encouraged others. To encourage others is to help them to turn some of the possibilities within them into actual achievements. Many trace the turning point of their career to the time when they acted on some word of good counsel. The word of experience is often the word wanted.
Words of gentleness.
Gentleness will do what violence will not do. Gentleness is the method by which strength manifests itself. Good words cost nothing but a little self-denial, and yet they purchase great things. The heart is the seat of the affections. It is there that sorrow and joy are felt. We are oppressed there with grief, and we speak familiarly of being pained at the heart and of being of a glad or merry heart. To speak to the heart is to speak gently as to remove the troubles of the heart. To furnish consolation and joy. Greatness and gentleness go hand in hand. Heroes who have been most distinguished for fury in the fight, have been tender of heart as little children. Sharp were their swords to the foe, but gentle their hands and words towards the weak.
Words of kindness.
Kind words never blister the tongue or lips, and we never hear of any mental trouble arising from this quarter. Though they do not cost much, yet they accomplish much. Wholesome words, like the salve, cure the wounds of afflicted hearts and extract the poison infused by evil tongues. They help one’s own good nature and good will. Soft words soften our own soul. Angry words are fuel to the flame of wrath and make it burn more fiercely. Kind words make other people good-natured. Cold words freeze people, and hot words scorch them, and bitter words make them bitter, and wrathful words make them wrathful.
Some pride themselves on the pungency of their speech. They delight in sharp answers, keen retorts and boast themselves when they cut others in two. There are others who are gifted in the expression of complaint, reproach, and criticism against the whole providence of life. They can say sharp and bitter things about God and man, and they can be satisfied because of the edge of their own epigram, no matter against whom or against what that edge is directed.
Words are powerful. They can create or they can destroy. So choose your words wisely.