“I wish I never would have said that.”

I can’t count the number of times that I’ve spoken these specific words. I think about them often – wishing that I could go back in time and take back all of the hurtful things that I’ve ever said. But words are so incredibly permanent, aren’t they?

I know that I will never be able to wholly mend the negative effect and lasting impression that they have had on the people that I love.

Isn’t it true that the “big” problems we experience in a relationship are rarely the primary cause of destruction?

Instead, it’s the build-up of the little things that slowly eat away at us. I believe that, more often than not, it can be the very simple words, said aloud in the wrong tone, at the wrong time, or with the wrong heart, that will begin to rot a relationship at the core.

This includes words that are said to our spouse in the heat of the moment. To our kids when both chaos and frustrations are at their peak. To friends when gossip or bitterness comes to light. To parents or siblings in moments of irritation. You may have already had one of these moments this morning; they happen much too frequently, don’t they?

How often have you regretted the words you let flow from your mouth, realizing that you never paused to think?

“Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue is also a fire … It corrupts the whole person and sets the whole course of his life on fire” (James 3:5-6).

This year, practice being slow to speak. Before speaking, ask yourself this: Is it Kind? Is it Necessary? Is it True? When you fail, which you will, ask for forgiveness without hesitation.

In order for us to do these things, it’s often important for us to step back and take a few minutes away. In the midst of rampant emotions, it is physically impossible to think logically.

As the dust settles and we allow the holy spirit to be the gatekeeper of our words, we will then be actively displaying the unconditional love that we’re called to have.

Comment below if you needed this today🖤