I grew up hearing this, soaking it in, and applying it to my own life. Being the nurturing, tenderhearted peacekeeper that I am, it made perfect sense. Why waste your breath saying something negative, especially if it will cause conflict or hurt feelings? We're called by God to build people up, not tear them down.
They say that sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you. The Bible says otherwise:
Job 19:2 “How long will you torment me and break me in pieces with words?"
Psalm 64:3 "...Who whet their tongues like swords, who aim bitter words like arrows..."
Proverbs 10:19 "When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent."
Proverbs 12:18 "There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."
Imagine forming a hurtful comment in your mind. I'll give you time to come up with something.
Now consider this...
Would you say that hurtful comment to God?
How do you think it would make Him feel?
Would you regret saying it?
~~~~~~~~Proverbs 17:27 "Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding."
When we neglect to hold our tongue for people when we should, we neglect to hold it for Jesus, as well."Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.'" Matthew 25:45
My paraphrase of Jesus's words:
"The way you treat other people is the way you treat me."
I hope to instill this in my future children. Speaking unkind words to others shows a lack of spiritual maturity, respect for your fellow brothers and sisters, and love for the Savior. It is a non-reflection of Christ's love and character, and is a bad example to set for the watching world.
I've been torn down a good deal recently and I've felt the pain of more unkind words in the past five years than I have in my whole life combined. The rest of what I have to say is directed at the people who have played a part in tearing me down with their words. Your words don't just hurt me. They hurt God and my husband, too. I don't care what kind of grievances you have against me. Your unkind words are uncalled for and unwelcome. If you would rather choose to continue with your disrespect toward me, know that Daniel and I would rather choose to discontinue our communications with you. We have no room in our lives for people who choose to tear us down.