The difference between a word and the right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. This statement, attributed to Mark Twain, is dead on. The subtle nuance of the correct word adds clarity, power, and depth to what is said or spoken. The ill-timed word can bring heartbreak, embarrassment, or conflict.
Words have power to build up or tear down, to give life or lance a heart, to inspire or inflame. We readily acknowledge this in our professional lives. We carefully craft our message for a speech or presentation. We think through an important meeting or phone call before we make it. We will change our speech and our vocabulary to meet the circumstances and the audience of our talk. But when we go home, or when we are among friends, we assume that we can just let it glibly roll off our tongues. We must realize that when we shoot from the hip, it usually means somebody does get shot down by our careless speech.
What would happen if we chose the speech we used with those closest to us with the same care we used in our most important presentations? What would happen if we listened carefully to understand the current circumstances of our family audience before we spoke?
These are the people we love!
This is where words that wound can live a lifetime!
This is time when a lovingly presented word can rescue a broken heart!
If words have such power, especially when properly chosen, then why not be a little more careful in choosing them among those we love?