There once was a woman who gossiped about her neighbor, but later found out that rumor wasn’t true. Feeling ashamed, she sought the advice of a wise old man and asked him how she could repair the defamed person’s reputation. The sage instructed her to fill a bag with feathers and then put one on each person’s doorstep who heard the slanderous story. The woman did as she was told and then returned to present the empty sack. The elderly man then lifted his head and with a tear in his eye, he said, “Now go back to each doorstep and collect the feathers.” The woman ran out the door and down the street, but as she hurried to gather the feathers, she’d found that they had all blown away.
Words are like feathers caught in the breeze. They can never be retrieved.
Social media is a modern day doorstep. What is said on places like Facebook quickly goes viral and spreads like wildfire, even if the post isn’t true. Reputations are defamed and lives are changed when lies are shared without foresight. The tongue is a fire that can ruin a life (James 3:6), but without wood the fire goes out (Proverbs 26:20).
Words cannot be unsaid, but they can be forgiven (1 John 1:9). The following verses may be an encouragement and motivation to tame the tongue:
He that refrains his lips is wise (Proverbs 10:19).
He that has knowledge spares his words (Proverbs 17:27).
He who guards his mouth preserves his life (Proverbs 13:3).
He who covers a transgression seeks love; but he who repeats a matter separates very friends (Proverbs 17:9).
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer (Psalm 19:14).
Pleasant words are like honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones (Proverbs 16:24).