Luke 6:45 “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
Words. The things that we say. It’s been a recurring theme lately in my life. Especially in the last week or so. It’s an area where the Lord is dealing with my heart. How many times when we have been hurt have we lashed out and said something in return just as hurtful? I think that this is especially true if it’s someone we are close to. Maybe it is a friend. Perhaps it’s our child or our spouse. I think it is human nature to want to defend ourselves. But then we end up causing more hurt, more pain. And the thing is…once those words are spoken out loud, they can’t be taken back. We can’t just shove them back in our mouths like we never said them. They are forever engraved upon the heart of the person they were spoken to.
Our words can bring life or death. They can heal or destroy. Tear down or restore. Bless or curse. I am sure all of us can think back to a time where someone said something damaging to us and years later we still remember. It can shape who we are, and who we become. I remember things said to me by some bullies in the classroom when I was twelve years old. Thirty five years later. Because words have a way of sticking.
We learn in the book of James that if we could control our tongue we would be perfect and would be able to control all the other areas our lives.
James 3: 2 (Msg ) We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths. If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you’d have a perfect person in perfect control of life.
A truly wise person uses few words. A person with understanding is even tempered. Even fools are thought to be wise when they keep silent. With their mouths shut they seem intelligent.( I love that last part!)
This week, I am ashamed to say that I failed miserably in that area. I was on the receiving end of someone’s frustration, and when I was attacked and treated unjustly, I reacted. When the words spoken to me were mean and hateful, I responded out of emotion. I blurted out what I was feeling in that moment because I was deeply hurt. Then I ran off and cried my heart out in the laundry room. I cried over the things spoken to me, but especially the things I said in return.
I think at times it is better just to be silent. Zip the lip and not say anything in return. Even though on the inside we are hurt or angry, or feel unjustly treated. When we in turn respond in anger, things will get worse, emotions will escalate and get out of hand. There is a saying I heard in our small group some time ago that I reminded of. “Two wrongs don’t make a right, but two lefts do.” Pastor Andy Smith,
Perhaps the best thing to do is walk away.
1 Thessalonians 5:15
See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to be good to each other and to all people.
I was thinking about Jesus. Is he not the greatest example of this? When the leading pastors and elders of his time made their accusations against him, what did he do? He remained silent. He didn’t try to justify himself or prove his innocence. Would we be able to do the same if we were misunderstood or under attack from our Pastors and those in authority? Jesus knew when to be quiet.
Matthew 27:12-14 But when the leading priests and elders made their accusations against him, Jesus remained silent. “Don’t you hear all these charges against you?” Pilate demanded. But Jesus made no response to the charges much to the governor’s surprise.
Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
In life there are going to be times when people say things to us that we will want to respond to. Maybe there is someone intentionally trying to get us riled up to get a reaction from us. What should our response be? What does the bible say about this?
2 Timothy 2:23 Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.
Life and death are in the tongue. Oh that we would choose life!