Words are such a hurtful weapon at times

Over the past couple of days, I have engaged in a email conversation with an old friend from high school.  The mail was quite harmless.  She was asking to have another person added to a mail list of which I am the moderator. 
We have had a relationship over the years filled with bantering back and forth.  and this is how the mail went until yesterday when I replied.  I believed that I was continuing in the bantering but my friend did not read it that way.  In her reply she was rather upset at my words.  I then replied that I did not mean anything negative and asked for her forgiveness.  Her mail back said she was very close to writing some very mean words last night but did not.
I was once again reminded just how powerful words are and how quickly they can turn ugly.  Some lessons I learned from this experience, and am sure will violate sooner or later are:
  1. Any words can be interpreted as hurting even if they weren't intended to be.  Lord, may I think before I speak.
  2. Written words don't carry tone, inflection, facial expression, body language and the such.  They are much more likely to be seen as hurtful when they aren't written that way. 
  3. be quick to ask for forgiveness, and not the "If I offended you" kind.  Make your forgiveness not dependent upon anything.  Humility should rule the day.
  4. Words should always be seasoned with grace and loving-kindness.  Perhaps there isn't even a place for friendly jesting even amongst the closest friends. 
  5. The book of Proverbs has much to say about words and communication, read it frequently.
Even though I wish this episode hadn't occurred, I am grateful that it reminded me about the power of words. 
Lord Jesus, guard my tongue and pen as I speak and write.  May my words uplift people and not bring them down.  May I exalt you in my speech. 

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