Dawn Tolbert

Writer
#366Days

A Test for our Words #366Days Day 45

I’ve shared my excitement at being part of Rotary International. The organization is truly amazing and is accomplishing great things around the globe from winning the fight to eradicate polio to working for peace and understanding. At each Rome Rotary meeting, we begin with prayer and by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and Rotary’s Four-Way Test of the things we say and do. 

Anong the four things we are to ask ourselves are a couple that have seemed particularly poignant to me lately. Before saying something I should ask “is it fair to all concerned?” and “is it beneficial to all concerned?”

The world today is brimming over with opinions and people “telling it like it is.” We are, in America, blessed to have Freedom of Speech, but we do not have freedom from responsibility. Our words matter. 

They can heal or they can hurt. 

They can soothe or they can inflame. 

Once spoken, we can never take them back. They have sailed out into the sunless sea and are well beyond our control once they are just beyond our lips.

What if we took time to ask ourselves of the fairness of what we are about to speak and to consider whether it is truly beneficial? There’s an old saying that says we should be careful what words we speak because we might have to eat them later. I’d much prefer it if mine were sweet rather than harsh and sour. 

I pray it may be so with mine. 

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