Sticks and stones will break my bones,
but words will never hurt me.
If that isn’t the biggest lie I’ve ever heard — well, it’s a big lie, anyway!
Words hurt, plain and simple.
My mother loved us. She did many wonderful things and raised us well. She was the best mother she knew how to be. But she had a rash and tactless tongue and there were some words that have taken me many years to heal from.
- you’ll never be pretty like your sister so you better develop a good personality or you’ll never get a husband
- you really are quite homely
- you’ll never be as smart as your oldest sister so you better get used to the fact that you’ll never make it in college
- you are looking fat
- you are looking skinny
My mother never meant to be cruel, but if a thought came through her head, it came out her mouth. And her thoughts weren’t always kind. But she also didn’t have the power of the Holy Spirit teaching and transforming her mind and her tongue. By God’s grace, I’m going down a different path in my life. One that started me being changed into the image of His Son. And I’ve never looked back.
But that doesn’t mean we can be careless with our words.
But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander,
and abusive speech from your mouth. Col. 3:8
I was reading this passage this weekend and was stuck by the fact that God CARES how we speak to one another. Attitudes and speech that hurts others is to be put away from us. And not just the really harsh parts, we are to put every aspect, every part, every tidbit of these behaviors and controlling attitudes away from us. And that “put away” implies being moved as far away as possible.
In other words, we cannot entertain anger, wrath, malice, slander or abusive speech in any part of our minds and hearts. We can be like my mother, who acted out and spoke what was in her mind and heart. BUT we need to make sure that our minds and hearts are filled with the Holy Spirit and grace, mercy and love.
But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.
With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men,
who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both
blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. James 3:8-10
We don’t have to stay stuck in hurtful sin.
The only way we can change our speech is to change our hearts. We need to learn to live the surrendered life – surrendered to the Spirit’s work of sanctification and regeneration deep in our souls. We can try and try to control what we say, but until we fully surrender to the Lord, we will be fighting a losing battle.
But Praise God, He has won the war!!
- We CAN live victoriously in this area.
- We CAN become women who are known for gracious and healing words of wisdom.
- We CAN speak, as it were, the very utterances of God when we learn to surrender to His merciful and gentle will and calling on our lives!
So I guess it is time to do a self-analysis on our speech (and attitudes). Do we have attitudes and actions that tear down others? Are we destroying others with our careless words? Are we causing wounds that hurt and destroy? Let’s lean on the Lord for strength to put these away from us and speak words of hope and healing to those around us, ministering in the name and power of our Savior.