The Struggle With Our Words
A few weeks ago, I spoke on the topic of Words in the series, “The Struggle Is Real.”
Proverbs 18:21 says, “Words kill and words give life. They’re either poison or fruit; you choose.” I mentioned in a message a few months ago that when you’re bitter at someone, it’s like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. In this case, when you let words fly around unchecked, it’s like spewing poison and expecting everyone else to be okay. That is what this verse in Proverbs is saying – choose what you’re going to do, because you can take someone who is incredibly loved, throw the wrong words into that relationship, and they’ll feel extremely unloved. The converse is also true. You can take someone who feels insecure, unloved and very discouraged, bring the right words into their life, and it will change them. Forever.
You can take someone who feels insecure, unloved and very discouraged, bring the right words into their life, and it will change them. Forever.
Misery in a person’s life is reflected in their words. The saying goes, “hurting people hurt people.” When someone is truly miserable, they may not even realize it, but when happiness is around them, they want to tear it down and bring everybody around them to their level of pain. Why is that? Pain feels normal to them. It’s familiar. It’s what they’re accustomed to.
Most people wouldn’t go around committing violent crimes and murdering others, but in our homes, it is not uncommon for spouses to stab each other with sharp, cutting words, parents to poison their children with venomous words, and children to explode at their parents with word bombs.
Someone hurts you with words, and before you know it, you’re responding in the same way, verbally defensive, maybe to prevent more hurt from occurring, yet causing more pain in the process. Because this struggle is so common, more common than any of us would want to admit, I want to remind you of just a few ideas from that sermon:
When it comes to using words, there are four types of people:
- Those who think before they speak
- Those who think while they're speaking
- Those who think after they speak
- Those who don't think
Now that’s funny, but it’s also true! Regardless of where you generally fall on that list, there are three things you can practice to grow in wisdom in this area:
Before spouting off the first thing that jumps in your head, wait. Count to 10.
While you’re counting, give yourself time to think about what you’re thinking about. Consider 2 Corinthians 10:5, which says this, “We take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.” It really doesn’t take long to hit the reset button!
While you’re pondering, quickly ask the Lord how He wants you to respond.
If you would like to review the message notes with Scripture references, you can find that here.
How is this going for you in your own life? How can I pray for you?