June 2, 2023

My niece was once playing with her playmate when I heard her playmate shouted, “Nagpangit ka! Toy ko daytoy!” I quickly told her it’s not right to speak those mean words. To my surprise, she began crying and answered me in a cracked voice: “Inbagak nga pangit isuna ta pangitak met lang isu gamin inbaga ni manang ko kenyak.” I can’t imagine that at a young age, she is already insecure because of the words inflicted on her by her sister.
What does this scenario tells us? My professor in college told us that words can kill the spirit. Whatever we say could uplift or kill the spirit of the receiver. Try to be with a person who always talks utter negative things (gossip, rude criticism, foul language, and what-nots) in 24 hours and be with someone who speaks positively (words of encouragement, constructive criticism, etc.) in an hour. Would you rather stick to the negative or the positive side?
With the demands of life and influence of social media, together with the effects of the Covid-19, it is very easy for us to speak against the government, complain about our educational system, be a faultfinder in the church, talk about failures of others, and focus more on negativities which lead to toxicity. Why is it welcome in our community, in school, in church, and worst, why is it welcome in our home?
People become successful because of uplifting words and some would choose to stay as a failure because they are living out the harsh words spoken to them. I am in the teaching field and I have seen how mean words cripple the future of students. I met a student who stopped going to school because his classmate told him he is not good enough. I am also a committed church member and I have noticed church leaders who give up their ministry because of unsolicited, unkind comments; and the saddest of all, I have witnessed family relationships break down because of an unguarded tongue. But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:8)
As a matter of fact, while we are still living in this imperfect world, we can be counted as contributors of these negativities. If we are not part of the cure, then we are part of the disease. They say life would be boring without it but I say life would be more worth living if we stop directing our attention on the negative side. Dwelling on the negativities is a waste of time and energy; it is a waste of life.
Words can make us feel victorious or defeated; blessed or cursed; and imprisoned or free. At the end of the day, we become what we speak and we become the words we entertain. With so much chaos happening around us, may we choose to speak life, not just make a noise. (RITA B. MATIAS)