As a child, I remember going to this little Assembly of God church, and in a small Sunday School room, one of the mothers use to sit down at an old, wooden, upright piano and we sang "Oh Be Careful". The song goes like this, "Oh be careful little tongue what you say, oh be careful little tongue what you say, for the father up above is looking down in love, so be careful little tongue what you say."
The tongue, it is so small, yet can cause so much damage. In one swift word or tone, you can either uplift someone or tear them down. Many times we use the "just joking" trick. It's where you say something, realize it came out rude, and throw a quick "just joking" in there to appear that you didn't mean it, even though you did! In Matthew 12:34, it says, "...For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart."
My boys love each other, but let's face it...they are brothers! There are times when they bother each other, drive each other crazy, and say mean things. The "just joking" becomes a habit and so does the idea that we should pick each other apart in efforts to "make them a better person." There seems to be days when the verbal attacks seem to be greater than others. The parental reminder for us all is the often used phrase, "if you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all!"
One day my son had to memorize a verse for Royal Rangers. The verse is Ephesians 4:29, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." That verse was a great reminder to not only the boys, but to myself that we need to be careful what we say. What good does it do to complain about others, tear them down and make them feel less than a beautiful person designed by God. We are all made by God and to speak cruelly about someone is saying that God makes mistakes!
Let us remember how we like to be treated and think before we speak. Each of us are imperfect and we have no right as sinners to say cruel things to each other. So, before those thought come creeping out of your mouth, stop and think about the affects that would have on another person. Does what you say praise and uplift God? Does it encourage you or anyone around you? Would you want the same thing said to you? So, as your anger grows and thoughts start to consume you about that one person that you struggle with, begin to pray and ask God to help you understand what they might be going through, and that you can begin to see them through God's eyes.