Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

~Proverbs 18:21

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” I am certain that everyone heard this quote many times growing up. But this quote, in my opinion, is far from the truth.

Scripture clearly warns us how powerful our tongues actually are. We offer life or death in the words that we choose to say to others, building others up or breaking them down.

I am certainly not free from guilt when it comes to my words. We all make mistakes and sometimes say things in the heat of a moment that we wish we could go back and change. But we can’t. That is why our words are so important. Once something is said, it can’t be unsaid.

There are other moments when we must stand strong on issues and not back down, but in these situations, choosing our words wisely – rather than spewing whatever comes to mind – makes for a much stronger and better argument. Likewise, using personal attacks on the other person during such conversations will only steer you away from the true problem, leaving little room for progress.

In a world where our words can be used as weapons or tools for healing, it is so important to realize the true impact our words have on those around us. The above Scripture verse serves as an especial reminder of the strong influence our words have on others, and we should be motivated to use them wisely to encourage others rather than to criticize and destroy.

It is a very sobering to realize that the words we choose can linger in the hearts and minds of others long after they have been spoken. Our words hold the power to change someone's perception – whether in casual conversation or deliberate critique – influence their actions, or impact the wellbeing of others.

As parents, as friends, as family, and even as a member of the community, our words can influence many. We can create change without being harsh and hurtful. This means we speak the truth … but we do it in love, and we must have our hearts ready in those times to ensure that we don’t fall victim to our emotions rather than facts.

I don’t know about you, but I have some work to do when it comes to using my words wisely! I pray that we all stop and consider and use our words a little differently this week. You never know who is listening and what influence those words will have on them.

Ashley Carter is a wife, mother, and grandmother living in Elmore County, where she and her husband run Farm to Table Living and Carter Farms. Ashley serves as Controller and Executive Assistant at 1819 News. She is currently working on an inspirational book of short stories. To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.