Thursday, December 31, 2009

Word to the Wise

Have you ever been stung by someone’s words?  Every time it happens to me it is harder than I remember. I hate being hurt. I can remember certain times when I was spoken to with a less than loving word that have stayed with me for years.  It happened again just yesterday.  And it hurts.  Even after forgiveness those words and the hurt they caused don’t go away.

Today I’ve been wondering how many times I have made someone feel crushed by my words.  Chances are – a lot.  I talk way too much.  I speak without thinking. That is not wise. Words are powerful.  The things that come out of my mouth have consequences.  The ones closest to me take the brunt of my quick tongue.  I often let frustration, anger or sadness have their way and come out in the form of a rude comment or harsh word.

I was just telling the kids about an object lesson I saw in Sunday School years ago.  Dylan was chosen to come up front. Bev handed him a tube of toothpaste and told him to empty it into a bowl. After he was done, she asked him to put it back in.  He gave her a helpless look.

Impossible right?  Because as easy as it squeezes out, once it’s out it’s out to stay.  There’s nothing that can be done to put it back in. That’s how it is with words.  They quickly roll off the tongue, but once they are out they can’t be taken back. 

I need to learn to let my words be few or at least fewer. 

Ecclesiastes 5:2-3

Do not be quick with your mouth,

do not be hasty in your heart

to utter anything before God.

God is in heaven

and you are on earth,

so let your words be few.

As a dream comes when there are many cares,

so the speech of a fool when there are many words.

Now that a lot of my communication is over email and Facebook, I also need to watch what I type.  People reading email can’t hear my tone or see my body language.   It’s easy to type a quick response without thinking of the implications because you are not looking the person in the face.  Some are people I never see and haven’t seen in more than ten years.  But I “talk” to them all the time.

Today while I am hurt over words spoken to me, I am remembering all the words I have spoken.  Were they spoken out of love?  Were the spoken to build others up?  Were they spoken in haste?

The problem is deeper than my quick tongue.  The things that easily roll off my tongue are born in my heart.  I have ugly attitudes and thoughts down there in the depths.  How am I supposed to control that?  Jesus addressed this when he was on earth.

Matthew 12:34-37

You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good?  For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.  The good many brings good things out of the good stored up in him.  But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.  For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.


I need to slow down my tongue and fingers.  Words are powerful.  They can be used for great hurt or great encouragement.  They can be used to tear down or build up.  No matter how hard I work at it, sometimes I will use my words to hurt.  I will use my words for revenge.  I will snap back out of impatience. I am thankful that when I fail, God is faithful to forgive me.  He helps me forgive others who hurt me.

I don’t want my family and friends to think of me and remember hurtful things I’ve said.  I want them to know that I love them.  I want them to know I am their biggest fan.  I want them to be encouraged.

But more importantly I need to Christ to change my heart.  If my heart is soft and filled with His love, the things that pour out of my mouth and keyboard will be filled with love and grace. 


Psalm 19:14

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart

be pleasing in your sight,

O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Proverbs 16:23

A wise man’s heart guides his mouth,

and his lips promote instruction.


Anonymous said...

Wow, something I need to remember. I want people to extend me grace when I type something that comes across as hurtful, but it is a lot harder to be as gracious when someone else's comment makes me want to run and revenge.

Peter and Nancy said...

Good food for thought. It's always so much easier to see how I've been hurt than to see how I have hurt someone else.