Thank you…yes ma’am…you’re beautiful…I love you. Words can be so powerful; they can bless, soothe, and empower. Get away…you’re fired…shut up…I hate you. Words can isolate, devastate, and demoralize.
Words are fine tools, helping awesome relationships and connections flourish. Words can also be heat-seeking weapons, deftly defending our psyche and attacking those who threaten our kingdom. The world has come to applaud quick-witted retorts. My need for control, to be the expert, to show my competence, or to cover my vulnerability pushed my mastery of the quick, sarcastic, sharp, verbal attack.
I came to realize, when I used words to damage others…I damaged myself as well. Self-respect, self-esteem, honor, dignity, relationships, brain chemistry, connection to God…all injured or damaged. Again, we see this all too common phenomena, what we reflexively use as self-protective maneuvers are really self-destructive grenades.
However, the Word of God gives us much different instructions about our words, as what comes out of our mouth is really the reflection of what is going on in our heart. In order to modify our word usage, we need to work on our heart. My swearing is gone and my verbal attacks are rare as God has worked on my heart over the years. I still have work to do, but the more I let God in, temptation is less and the need to protect myself is minimized as a rest in His defense for me.
Today, let your speech come under the control of the Holy Spirit. Say split second prayers before you respond. Think before you speak, not as you speak. Use your words today to lift someone up, to heal instead of hurt. As your positive speech patterns replace your negative ones, the increase in joy and peace in your relationships will simply amaze you. Maybe forward this devotional to someone who has given you grace with his or her words to thanks them. Your decision, choose well.
Dear Father God, Thank You for the awesome gift of speech. I also confess, Father that I have misused this gift…I confess, Father, that I have used my mouth and mind to hurt others. Forgive me, Father. I pray, Father, that You fill me with Your Holy Spirit so that I may have the discipline to think before I speak. Help me pray before answering the phone and before responding to others in conversation. Let others see You in me by the words I speak. I pray these words in the name of the living Word, Jesus Christ; and all God’s people said, – AMEN!
Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,