Michel: Can’t take our words back once they’re let out

Published 12:01 am Saturday, September 19, 2015

I do it without thinking — grab a can of hairspray, spray my hair and hurry out the door. I once picked up the innocent-looking silver can and read the label: “CAUTION: Contents under pressure.” I suddenly thought, so am I.

The words and emotions inside of me are usually controlled. However, sometimes, especially when I am under pressure, I give in to criticism and a judgmental attitude that affects those in my line of fire.

This usually happens at home. The people who love me the most are those who become the recipients of my negative words. It shouldn’t be that way.

When I depend on God to be the filter between my mind and my mouth, and to weed out thoughts that should never be expressed, I do OK. But when I start moving too quickly to pray, and begin to think that I can handle it all, that’s when the pressures of life get to me and I fail.

Maybe if people had labels, I would be more careful. Imagine a room filled with people bearing their messages: “I’m afraid that I will fail at my new job.”

“My Dad is about to leave again.”

“We’re about to lose our home.”

“Every night I drink until I pass out.”

“I’m really trying, please don’t criticize me.”

It amazes me when I find out that some of the people who seem the most carefree are bearing the heaviest burdens.

I guess the lesson is to treat everyone with dignity and respect because I am rarely completely aware of what others are facing.

My words should encourage, not criticize; inspire, not defeat; heal, not hurt. In a way, words are just like hairspray, once dispensed, there is no way to get it back into the container.

David must have faced a similar battle, one that prompted him to write, “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3

Maybe I need to write that verse on an index card and tape it to my bathroom mirror, near my hairspray.

Ronny Michel may be reached at rmichel@rtconline.com.