Keller: Reckless words can have negative impact

Published 9:09 am Saturday, June 28, 2014

I’ll never forget as Jeanne and I were on our way home from a speaking engagement, she decided to send me a message using the Bible.

“Listen to this!” she said. “Even a fool is considered wise if he holds his peace” — Proverbs 17:28.

“Why did you think it’s important to share that with me?” I said, defensively, knowing the answer. I have a tendency to say things without any thought of the consequences.

Raising four children that are precious gifts from God, my responsibility was to protect, provide and encourage them to become the Godly individuals they were created to be.

One of my regrets is that, sometimes, I would not control my anger and allow my tongue to hurt and discourage them. In spite of the harm and hurt I may have caused, God was able to heal them.

I once read the following message from a daily inspirational publication called “The Word for you Today” about the use of the tongue:

Careless words can hurt people. Not only can they influence a person’s self-worth, they can actually shape that person’s destiny. If you doubt that, consider these two stories:

(1) One day, in a small country church, an altar boy accidentally dropped the communion wine. The officiating priest slapped him and shouted, “Leave, and don’t come back!” That boy became General Tito, the brutal communist dictator who ruled the people of Yugoslavia for years.

(2) In a big city cathedral, another altar boy dropped the communion wine. His bishop turned to him and whispered reassuringly, “It’s okay. Some day you’ll be a great priest.” That boy became Archbishop Fulton Sheen, whose sermons touched the hearts of millions on national television.

Your words either build people up or tear them down. Solomon said, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

There’s an old saying that sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never harm you. That’s not the truth, because harsh words will do as much or more damage as any physical abuse.

If you have any questions, or comments, please write to Get High on Life, P.O. Drawer U, Reserve, LA 70084, call (985) 652-8477, or e-mail: