Our mouths. They have a tendency to do one of 2 things: uplift or tear down.
In a very literal sense, just as a house stands on a foundation, so do our lives/emotional well-being/mental fortitude. The foundation is usually laid by parents and family who raised us. If you are blessed to have had strong, positive role models as a child, your foundation is a firm one. It is often in later years we find that what others say can chip and chisel away at whatever foundation was there to begin with.
This is where we all falter at times. Words that depart from your lips can permeate others incredibly deeply whether you realize it or not. Just one ill-timed, or rudely stated phrase can begin a crumbling of sorts. For me? I can start to dish out brash or snide comments when I am hungry, angry, PMSing, etc... The brunt of it goes to my husband. But just because I am lacking sleep or a sandwich doesn't give me an 'automatic' reason or entitlement to be nasty. James 3:3-5 states,"A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it!"
Yikes!!! Soooooooo much potential rides on that one very small muscle in your mouth. Just err on the side of potential for good not harm. I love going to the Runner's Club races for my elementary school. At the high school track, the kids run with their age group, and a winner is determined after 4 laps... My observation is that when the kids are nearest the cheering crowd, they run harder, and even smile or give a 'thumbs-up'. And yep, you guessed it. The further they are from the bleachers of cheering friends and family, the harder the race is. It is all about words- everyone needs a cheerleader or two or three.
Only one person on Earth ever had His tongue perfectly controlled. So the majority of us need this reminder every now and again: "It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it,..." (James 3:5-6).
Before you say it, ask yourself if you are building onto someone's foundation or tearing it down? EVEN if what you say is true, is it necessary? Kind? If not, swallow your words. Once you get into the practice of swallowing those unnecessary, unkind words, it does get easier. On the flip side, you might discover that speaking life into others is so much more worthwhile....because it is.
One last thought from James 3:7-10
"This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth! My friends, this should not happen."