Oh Be Careful Little Tongue …

March 4, 2010

We use to sing a song in Sunday School that cautioned, “Oh be careful little tongue what you say…”

I was reminded of that song several weeks ago as I watched a show about a doctor who, through  no real fault of his own, had become the focus of an investigation which almost destroyed what had once been a very promising career.

“Almost” probably isn’t the proper word for it.   His good reputation was virtually destroyed because of false accusations made by a disgruntled associate.   After a long trial, a jury found him innocent of all charges and he was finally free to return to his career as a life saving organ transplant surgeon.

At the end of his interview, the Doctor stated, “It took me but a moment to lose my good reputation. I will spend the rest of my life trying to get it back.”

How true!  A good reputation is a hard thing to establish and maintain.  Once it’s gone, it’s almost impossible to restore it to good standing.  A quick google search of the Doctor’s name will testify to that fact.   Now, years after the trial ended, there’s plenty of information on the internet that would indicate his guilt, and little that tells of him being found innocent by the jury.

The story left me feeling sad for the man and his family.  I’ve never been able to understand how someone can be so vengeful (and in this case, the person had nothing to seek vengeance for) as to try to destroy someone’s character.  I also wondered how many viewers turned the t.v. off still doubting the surgeon’s innocence.

The tongue is a mighty weapon.  It can be used to edify, or it can be used to destroy.  In the story I’ve talked about today, the accuser’s intent was blatant.  She wanted to destroy this man and put him out of practice.

Although most of us probably wouldn’t go to such extent to hurt another person’s reputation, a lot of us do damage without even thinking about it.    The phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” couldn’t be further from the truth. With medical attention, broken bones mend.   The human spirit is much slower to recover.    In fact, once wounded, the spirit may be changed forever.

Think before you speak!  Are the words you’re about to say likely to do damage to someone’s reputation or self-esteem?

Would you say them if that person were standing next to you?

Would you want someone to say those things about you?

You can’t “un-speak” something.  You may have the opportunity to apologize, but you can never really take your words back.

Perhaps the old adage “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” is a good rule for all of us to follow.

Words are powerful!  They can tear down or destroy.

Choose your words wisely and be careful little tongue what you say!

Coach Becky J. Taylor

March 3, 2010

Bold New Day! Personal Development Coaching for Women



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