Yesterday, I talked about how words can leave scars that really never go away. Today, I want to talk about some of those scars. I knew a young lady I will call Jane... her parents took her to church regularly. She loved the Lord and had a drive to win others to Jesus Christ... she spoke often to anyone who would listen to her about Him. One day she brought a young man to church and sat with him. I won't go into all the nitty-gritty details... but come another day and a "Christian woman" who was obviously immature and unable to show self-control or temperance, (Galations 5:22,23) had gathered with some of the other women in the church and began to gossip about the younger girl. The elder woman not only gossiped... she spoke words to this young person that were very harsh and uncalled for... in doing so she created both a rift in the church and very damaging wounds in the heart of Jane. Eventually... Jane stopped coming to church and ultimately went the way of the world.
Years later... a friend asked Jane to go on a church retreat with her. Jane refused... but her friend would not relent... she kept asking Jane to go. She also had other mutual friends try to coax and encourage her to attend the retreat. This went on for several months and eventually she did agree to go. Personality unchanged and having committed to go... she went whole-heartedly and joined in every session and activity that was held. All went well... Jane loved the time she spent at the retreat... she was excited and had decided to check out the church when she got home.
She had been attending for a few weeks... when her heart was stirred and she remembered how she had once loved and trusted the Lord Jesus as her own personal Savior. Delighted... she got involved with the ladies Bible study and began to trust and share again... she even took charge of a 'food drive' the ladies were having. During a particular meeting one of the women spoke up and asked, "Why is Jane in charge of the food drive... she's not a member of the church.... were not even sure if she's saved! I just don't think someone like this should be 'in charge' of anything until they commit to the church and God!" The woman was right when she said, "I just don't think" because she didn't think before she spoke. Jane never returned to any church again!
You may think Jane should not have been so sensitive or she should have ignored the woman's statements. It doesn't matter... plain and simply put... RECKLESS WORDS HURT! They also wound the emotions very deeply. Careless words can jeopardize a myriad of relationships. They can endanger friendships with neighbors, classmates, co-workers and even those you attend church with. Hurtful words also threaten families and marriages. They not only turn people away from you, they turn people away from God. The author of James reminds us: "But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." (James 3:8)
Look back for a moment... to when Jane's friend asked her to the retreat... look back to how long it took not only her friend... but other mutual friends... several months went by... to just get Jane to say she would attend the retreat. The result of many hours of gentle persuasion and reassurance were destroyed and nullified in only a moment!
Perhaps Jane was somewhat easily offended. Perhaps she should not have taken so much to heart. It doesn't matter... all of us need to be constantly aware that words spoken out in haste, can often waste away the most precious thing in any community of relationships. A good Biblical truth for every Christian to live by is: A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Proverbs 15:1
God's Word tells us specifically that no man can tame the tongue... I would say, "Don't even try... don't attempt to do what God says we can't do!" Instead we need to change our thinking and thought patterns just as scripture states in: Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Only then will we learn to think about what we say... for what we think.... is usually what we speak. I know... this can be easier said than done.... yet it is so worth the effort. Unfortunately, some people are overly enthusiastic about speaking and bearing the truth before their thought process... and then they totally forget to put on and bathe it in "love" first and foremost!
Words can be toxic.. they linger like a potent poison long after they are spoken. Our task as Christians is to think about and identify our own lethal and deadly words that we speak... and then rid them from our vocabulary! Once we do that... it is so vitally important to fill the place in our mind... that was emptied from those words and begin to think on healing and soothing words.
The more we relate to one another.. the more we need to think and understand the scope of our words... which ones we should use and the ones we should not use. We also need to remember that not all people respond the same way... people respond to their own experiences and their
Now, I realize we are not a perfect people... but we should be a thoughtful and a striving people! There will be times... when no matter what we say or do... hurts will occur regardless of our best intentions... sometimes our words spoken rightly can just be perceived wrong... and that is just a fact of life. Still, the more we speak kindly... with a heart and mind that thinks and listens... we will find relationships of all kinds will only improve and advance! Isn't that what we all want... good lasting relationships?
One more thing to do... each day practice and deliberately choose to say... healing and comforting words to those around you. Don't worry if you're not really good at doing this... just keep trying... you will improve! This is a road to a more content and fulfilling life!
My Friend... Be Blessed today and remember... think before you speak!