I just saw the theme for the "Desiring God" conference... "The Power of Words and the Wonder of God". I'm intrigued by this. I have seen and see constantly the power of words. "The power of life and death is in the tongue" it says in Proverbs. James talks about the tongue being a "fire" and asks "who can tame it?".
"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." But they do. They hurt us. They hurt our families. They hurt our ministries. And the hurt they cause can fester. Criticism from the body of Christ is not always constructive, and when it's not, it can emotionally kill us."
Careless words can and do hurt. They "pierce like a sword" it says in Proverbs. I have been "stabbed" a bunch of times and so have those I love. So it makes me want to be careful myself to "let no unwholesome word come out of my mouth" (from Ephesians 4:29). I don't want to be responsible for harm caused by my careless words. Someday I will give account for every one of those careless word spoken! (Matthew 12:36)
I don't say a lot to others (but my husband gets an "earful" at times.) I'm glad to be a more quiet person. At least I have time to think about what comes out of my mouth before I just blurt something out and later regret it. However... just because I don't SAY things doesn't mean I don't think them. So many things go through my mind that I'd LIKE to say but don't. This is God's mercy! Still.... I'm thinking them. Maybe it's fear or pride that keeps my mouth shut, or maybe sometimes it is knowing that if I were to really "speak my mind [heart]" then it could cause some real damage.
It comes down once again to the heart. Words come from the heart... "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks". But my heart still needs to be changed. Lord, change my heart!
"May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing (acceptable) to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer."