“Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Proverbs 16:24
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Sounds nice, doesn’t it? I think if you’ve been alive for even just one day on earth, it’s easy to know that words can hurt, and they do hurt us (as well as our words hurt others) far more than we’d like.
I’ve now been married to my husband, Colton, for five and a half years. If you met him, you’d quickly realize his kindness and hopefully pick up on his subtle jokes that make me laugh all the time. Colton is one of the very best people I know, my dearest friend and partner, the love of my life, and the one for me. And at the same time, he’s the person I most easily get frustrated with.
We were driving in the car recently, running late, with our almost two year old crying in the back seat. Things were tense to say the least. Colton was distracted and missed our turn, and in that moment, I huffed and puffed and said things that made him feel embarrassed and hurt. He’s usually the one who can keep his cool, but in the moment, he shot back at me some harsh words as well. And as our interaction came to an abrupt end, I caught myself. I wanted to keep going, keep hurting him because he had hurt me, and at the same time, in the truest version of myself, I wanted to stop right there and take it all back.
We usually are good about avoiding ugly fights, the kind where we raise our voices or say super hurtful things, and I’m thankful for that. At the same time, we’re not perfect, and in a season where it’s easy to be stressed out, we do fall into that pattern like we did in the car. But as soon as I was able to calm down, I felt that gentle correction from the Holy Spirit in my heart. I turned to Colton and told him I was sorry. That I didn’t want that way of speaking to one another to creep into our marriage. That I wanted kind words to be what came out instead.
I love Proverbs 16:24 because it reminds me of how healing kind words can be. In moments of tension, hurt, anger, and sadness, it’s easy to let the most hurtful thing we can think of jump out of our mouth to attack another, but these days, I’m trying to ask myself the hard questions:
The truth is, I will be growing in this area for the rest of my life. But my prayer is that as we walk with God and because more and more like Christ, that kind words would flow like honey, and that our words would be used to build others (and ourselves) up instead of used to tear them down.