I have been dealing with the English language for most of my life. As an arts and literature student, I spent most of my time with my nose in a book, a pen in hand writing essays, and my fingers typing up research papers and reports on my laptop. Today, part of my job requires me to browse and edit product descriptions and releases. It is crucial that every word and sentence published is accurate, so that my company’s message comes across clearly.

Most of us know the value and power of words. For example, an outstanding review from a well-known food critic (or even a close friend) would entice hungry and curious customers to try the newest restaurant in town. On the other hand, a bad review (whether true or not) may spell disaster for any establishment. So it’s always good to be responsible and mindful of the things we say, and how we say it.

I wish I could say that I was always mindful of my words. In the past, I struggled with dealing with my temper, and taming my tongue. When anger or frustration got the better of me, my grasp of the English language would narrow to a few select words and phrases that were meant to hurt and sting. (Though I hardly used extremely vulgar language, there would be several instances when I would resort to name-calling and berating other people.) It was a challenge that I faced practically everyday especially during my morning and evening commute to and from work. (I have yet to meet someone who can truthfully say that traffic jams bring out the best out of him or her.)

It wasn’t until I became open about my struggle, and delved deeper into God’s word that I began to realize that words are more than just sounds that come out of my mouth or letters that appear on paper. In Luke 6:45, Jesus pointed out that “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Clearly, as a Christian, my actions were not aligned with the thoughts of a child of Light (Ephesians 5:17-21). There shouldn’t be room for name-calling, rudeness, or vulgar language in my heart and mind.

Through Bible study, I gained an even deeper understanding of the value and weight of words. The book of James, which points out hypocritical behavior and teaches proper Christian conduct, served as a good starting point. James made it very clear that one’s mouth shouldn’t have both curses toward men, and praises to God pouring out (James 3:9-12).

During fellowship, I was able to share my concerns and struggle with fellow Christians – who have or are going through similar struggles. Together we are able to offer each other advice and pray for one another. I have found it extremely comforting knowing that I’m not the only one who faces this kind of challenge, and that I have a supportive group of friends who watch out for me.

God reminds me everyday that everything He has made is good, and is meant to carry out His purpose. He gave me the ability to speak, and the talent to piece words together. The words He has allowed me to speak are not meant to tear others apart, but to be used for encouragement (Ephesians 4:29), teaching, and equipping (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Writer’s Bio: Carissa Villanueva works in a company that sells quality leather sneakers. God is her boss. Her blog, hellocarissav.wordpress.com, displays photos and stories about her most recent experiences around the Philippines and in different parts of the world.