Dear Brother and Sister in Christ
I want to give a brief introduction into what I consider one of the most important things that we as believers need to learn to control. That is our tongue, the bible has many ways to describe the tongue, and we will be exploring it in the next few articles. I pray that as you read these words, that you will be encouraged to learn to use your tongue in a way that brings life to those around you.
The other day I over heard a father say to his son “you are such and idiot, can’t you do anything right?” I watched as the father stood there berating his son for some misdemeanor that his son had committed.
He seemed oblivious to the effect that it was having on his son and for that matter how it made him look. He kept up the abuse and finally when he had finished with his barrage of words he walked away; satisfied that he had “disciplined his son” and was a better man for it. The truth of the matter is that it served only to completely humiliate his son, and cause a chasm so wide and deep between the son and father.
The son who had taken that abuse learnt a few things from his dad in that short space of time; he learnt that in his father’s eyes he was not of any great value, for if he was, he would have respected him as a person and chosen another way to discipline him.
I saw another instance of a little boy standing on a play ground with his friends, he was not as athletic as the other boys but he did like to play sports. They were starting up a game of football and he wanted in, I heard one of the boys pipe up and say, “hey fatty, go find something else to do, like maybe eating some donuts or something!” All the boys around him laughed so hard, they thought it was hilarious. I could see in the little boy’s face that he wanted to stand up to them and say something but feelings of hurt flashed across his face but instead he turned and walked away slowly, head down and shoulders hunched.
Two teenage girls were walking down the corridor at school, as they did so they saw Belinda. Belinda was the girl who was clumsy, she was not so pretty, always wore home made or hand me down clothes. Well in their opinion she was not appealing at all. They took great pains in showing her how plain and stupid she really was. The never missed a chance to belittle her, in front of everyone of course. They also made sure that everyone had a great laugh at her expense.
What could she do, she was helpless to there constant teasing, and hurtful remarks. She sank deeper and deeper into self loathing. Believing after awhile that what they said about her was true. It had to be, everyone said it was!
The sad part of these stories is that the people saying the hurtful and harmful words often do not realize the long term effect of those words that they have spoken. Think for a moment of all the things people have said to you over your life time.
When you think about those things that people have said to you, what do you remember the most, the words of love and encouragement or is it the words that tore you to pieces. I am willing to say with out a doubt that the words that you remember the most are the ones that cut the deepest.
Often those words spoken to you were from people that you loved and trusted as well which makes the pain of what was said even more piercing. Things like “You can’t, you don’t measure up, you are an idiot, and you are stupid”, I could go on forever but I am sure that you get the picture.
I don’t know about you but I have been on both the receiving as well as the giving end of biting words. I have felt the effect of other people’s insensitivity to me as a person and in turn due to the learnt behavior have done it to others.
So why even discuss it? It is a huge problem in our society these days, with many people walking around extremely wounded from things people have said to them. We as human beings often gain our perspective of ourselves from other people. (This will always give us a false perception of who we really are, as Christ can only give us the correct perception) As humans, in need of love and acceptance from other people we take both the negative and positive criticism from people and often shape who we are around what other people think and say about us. I want to suggest to you that this thinking is faulty.
Changes can be made to this devastating cycle, and it all starts with you. Yes, you see we are responsible for how we respond to people around us. You have to make the conscience effort to not speak in a way to people that will tear them down as a person. You have to choose to train yourself to speak to people in a way that will build them up.
That is easier said than done, I know, but it is possible. I used to make a habit of telling people everything that I thought of them. Until one day I realized that I was adding to their self esteem issues and how badly they felt about themselves. I also realized how crippling those negative words had been to me. Those words stopped me from pursuing a lot of things in my life that I probably would have been very good at.
I want to encourage you to train yourself to start speaking life giving words into people. Make every effort to building them up instead of tearing them down. You are the only one that can make any changes on how you respond to other people. Start today, and remember anything worthwhile in life takes practice and perseverance.
We will be exploring this whole topic in depth from a Christian Biblical view in future articles, you are not going to want to miss out on this teaching.
For now, if you know that the words that you have spoken have been hurtful to others; I want to encourage you to ask the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive you.
In the Psalms, King David, often cried out to God for mercy and forgiveness, but one of my favorite things that he cried out to God for is written in Psalms 19 and it says,
“May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock, and my Redeemer.”
That is my prayer for you, and for myself every day that the words that come out of our mouths and hearts would be pleasing to God in every way.
God bless you
Filed under: Power of the Tongue