When words are not enough in this world, very often they are too much. Our attempts to build a better bridge, fix a troubled life, and mend a ravaged heart with imperfect words and sentences, often fail to meet another's needs. What we intend to encourage may only discourage, to comfort, further discomforts. Words are less than a dandelion's seed blown in the wind, until they find a resting place to die. In their death, they sprout, then dig roots and grow into another of its kind, on another day.
Have you ever tried to wipe out the dandelions sprouting in your lawn? Mowing them only chops them down for a day. Their roots dig deeper and the stem replenishes and sprouts anew. Words are hard to uproot, once sown. Sometimes words cannot be retracted simply because someone writes a retraction in The New York Times. Once written or spoken, words take on a life of their own. They are powerful enough to change the course of things. And often the original author or speaker is powerless to change the action or reaction they first put in motion.
Declarations of war. Orders to execute. The judge's sentence. The President's pardon. Gossip. Slander. Innuendo. Whispers of the unsubstantiated. Such words produce actions and reactions which incite, provoke emotions, create anger--actions that harm, malign, destroy. Yet, it is further written:
"Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly." Proverbs 14:29.
Much could be said about a person who is slow to anger. He is one who takes time to evaluate words, decipher intent, confirm intent and motives of another's words. He is one who doesn't go off half-cocked, ready to spout the first thing that comes to his own mind at the hearing or reading of another's words. He is one who is self-controlled, is filled with the Spirit of God and prone to show mercy, exhibit generosity, forgiveness, tolerance, kindness. He tends to speak with humility and patience. Foremost, he desires peace between the brethren of Christ. When he finally speaks, he brings with him reason, wisdom, logic, and grace.
The latter person--one with a hasty temper--in Solomon's view, is one who is not able to control his emotions. He is one who spews and sputters whatever comes to mind. He's one who lacks understanding and does not take time to weigh his own words; he judges quickly. He often errs. He does not use discernment. He is blinded by the board in his own eyes as he seeks to remove the specs from another's. Therefore, his haste brings about all kinds of folly--misinterpretations, mistakes, unseemliness, rudeness and impatience. None of this is love. It's but clanging cymbals.
What can one do then with words of regret, impulsiveness, and judgment? What can one do with words of sarcasm, condescension, or rudeness? Words most often in my mind would probably better be left unspoken. Unfortunately for those in my 6-foot sphere of space, or access to my sphere, I have, at times, released the thoughts within my mind with a haste too quick to retrieve. Other times, I've been blessed to hold my tongue. To think through my words. To measure my thoughts and how they can be construed or interpreted by another.
When words are too much, sometimes all we can do is say, "I am sorry. Please forgive me." selahV