This verse sets the tone:
Angry words! O let them never,
From the tongue unbridled slip,
May the heart’s best impulse ever,
Check them ere they soil the lip.
There’s a thought. Can we hold our tongue long enough to let our brain catch up to it? Can we train our minds and our hearts to check that impulse to let fly with some harmful insult that will hurt another? Do we realize that the things we say paint us as the speaker of those words? As a wise man once said, we can be defiled by the words that come out of our mouth.
Our most animated conversations, our most heated arguments, usually come within our family and among our closest friends. These are people we love and care about. If we say something that hurts them, it means we’ve probably used information we gained as someone close to them, and are turning against them to hurt them. That’s a really unfortunate use of one’s closeness to another. Don’t be that guy. Don’t be that gal.
But you know what happens. You get hurt. You feel rejected. You feel taken for granted. You feel used, or misunderstood. Brooding leads to a desire to inflict emotional pain on the one who has disappointed you. Words are exchanged. Insults fly. Someone says something they may take back, but they can never erase — something about a personal trait, or a secret, or some vulnerability. You may get beyond that argument. You may apologize for the insult uttered in anger. But is the harm from that moment ever fully cured?
Written by Horatio Palmer in 1867, the song Angry Words was one part of a memorable music career of a man who was immersed in music with Protestant churches for a lifetime. He lost his mother as a child, but he grew up full of hope and goodness. His song is a wonderful lesson that applies to life, no matter one’s religious beliefs.
This last verse of the song sums up well why we should always keep a brake between our temper and our tongue:
Angry words are lightly spoken,
Bitterest thoughts are rashly stirred,
Brightest links of life are broken,
By a single angry word. © 2009, Jim "Pappy" Moore, All Rights Reserved.
Jim “Pappy” Moore is a native son of East Texas who still makes the piney woods his home. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org