I am amazed at what we are capable of saying to one another - loved ones and friends alike - that tears each other down and foments resentment, bitterness and confrontation. Proverbs 12:18 says "Reckless words pierce like a sword but the tongue of the wise brings healing".
The bad things in life seem to stick in our memory...sometimes a whole lifetime...longer than do the good things.
Like gossip: "The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts" Prov. 26:22. We remember - and believe - the bad things we hear about others, even if we have no proof ourselves.
I feel badly when I gossip, and I should. It is SO destructive. And yet I still do it and am ashamed. Words cannot be unsaid and their power lasts as long as the hearers remember.
I feel badly when I fail to support a friend who is being unjustly accused or is the subject of gossip. Words unspoken can be as detrimental as those spoken rashly. Silence implies agreement.
I must strive to be like a deep well where ill-spoken words fall and are diluted and forgotten. I must strive to be like a gushing spring where well-spoken words refresh and encourage and support.