Let us oft speak kind words to each other.
If we’re in the mood or we’re not.
When our words are given without thought
Retrieval may never be bought.
Hate words, idle gossip and slander
Will shame and drive us apart.
They’ll sadden the heart that’s repining,
Kill courage, all hope and our love.
Spiteful words, quick retorts, snide remarks
Come quickly and wound instantly
They are words no one wants to hear.
They gash just like rocks or a spear,
They hurt the receiver, you and me;
At home or where ever we may be.
Till hearts break and minds close to view
A friendship we’ll never renew.
Oh the service we give will be kind words and live
Forever in everyone’s heart.
Let us oft speak kind words to each other;
Never let hurt our lips depart.
(Adaptation from LDS Hymnal #232 by Margaret Larsen Turley 7/12/08)
Recently at work, church and home I’ve had occasion to reflect on what the effect of my spoken and written words has been, whether given in person, via phone, through e-mail or other means. At times I have a sharp tongue that lashes out in anger, self-defense, and protection of loved ones or sometimes plain selfishness. Later when the simmering pot is on the back burner I often wish I could undo, un-say, un-send what I said even though it may have been justified in my mind at the time, or I may have been correct. When given time to think about the situation I can come up with a softer way to approach, kinder words to correct, or a better method to teach. Then I regret that I can’t erase the damage done, there is no way to retrieve the impression on vulnerable minds and hearts, and sometimes irreparable damage is done.
So, I hope in the future to count to ten before speaking, delay sending an e-mail until I can objectively review the intent and the effect it may have, and remember that I am speaking or writing to a child of God. So even if I am hurt by what someone else says or does, rather than react I hope to act as Christ our Exemplar would. I also ask forgiveness from any whom I may have offended recently or in the past.