If I asked you to tell me something that someone said to you that really hurt you, could you do it? Of course you could! We all have been hurt by the words of someone else at one (or probably multiple) time or another during our lifetime.
There are people who will say things, and mean to hurt you. You know it. There is no doubt about it it. They are hurt or angry themselves, and they want to hurt you.
Then there are people who say things that aren't necessarily mean, but you know by the tone or the context, that they are making a dig at you. I recently heard it described in terms of chickens. They run in the same circles as you do, they are not overtly mean to you (at least not to your face) and yet they take every chance they get to "peck" at you with snide comments. Peck...peck...peck. Just like one chicken mad at another.
Then there are those who try to camouflage their comments by following them up with, "just kidding!" When everyone privy to the conversation knows that they are not "just kidding" at all.
And then there are those who hurt you without meaning to. Maybe they didn't know what they were talking about was a sensitive subject to you. Maybe they weren't thinking. Maybe they were meaning something totally different, and their heart was totally in the right place, but the words just came out wrong.
Regardless of which way it happened, we all know that the old adage, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me." is not true. Because we have all been hurt by the words of others.
I used to be really good at keeping my mouth closed. But I find that the older I get, the harder it is to keep my tongue under wraps. It takes much prayer, and help from the Holy Spirit. And yet still, I sometimes stumble. I do not like being hurt by someone else's words, so, I do not want to hurt others with MY words. I want to be aware that EVERYTHING I say either pleases the Lord, or pleases Satan.
My prayer each day is Psalms 19:14 "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer." I want my words to build others up. I want my words to encourage others. I want my words to celebrate the victories in the lives of others.
Let me encourage you to examine your words today. Do you use your words in ways that please the Lord? If not, there's never a better time than the present. Pray and meditate on Psalm 19:14. Ask God to bring it to your attention when your words are not pleasing to Him. And, when He does bring it to your attention, ask His forgiveness, and then do what you can to sincerely apologize and make things right with the person you have hurt. Wether they accept your apology or not is not the issue, that is between them and the Lord. The real issue is that you have done what you needed to do. God will bless you for it.
Dear Lord, please help us all to be more mindful of our words, and how strongly they can affect those around us. Help us to use our words to build up, and encourage our fellow Christians. Help us to use words full of kindness and love to lead others to a saving knowledge of you. And when we slip, and say things that do not honor you, please convict our hearts, so we can sincerely make things right. In Jesus name, Amen.