Words are a powerful tool. Some folks never learn just how powerful they are. Rather, by not guarding what they say, they spend their lives wreaking emotional havoc wherever they go. In explanation, loving words can heal a broken bond, while hurtful remarks could destroy a relationship forever. The importance of governing words is sometimes lost on those who grow up in dysfunction, like I did. We can become misguided individuals believing that as long as we aren’t physically abusing anyone, screaming, or cursing; that verbal attacks are acceptable.
What happened behind closed doors when we were children, is often not an acceptable role model for healthy communication. No matter our age, and regardless of how painful our past has been, it’s wrong to think that God allows His children to wound others. West central Ohio’s Pastor Randy Bargerstock shared this poignant truth in a message once. He said that there is a lie that some people believe that when they have been hurt, this gives them the right to hurt others.
The Bible contradicts this falsehood, “The good man from his inner good treasure flings forth good things, and the evil man out of his inner evil storehouse flings forth evil things. But I tell you, on the Day of Judgment men will have to give account for every idle (inoperative, non-working) word they speak. For by your words you will be justified and acquitted, [or]…you will be condemned and sentenced.” Matthew 12:35-37
Not only will we be called to account for our words, but the kind of life that we live today is dependent on healthy communication. After all, Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].” In explanation, unchecked anger, lack of forgiveness, or bitterness, can drive us to say cruel things to others. In Matthew 12:34 we are told that, “…For out of the fullness (the overflow, the superabundance) of the heart the mouth speaks.”
“If we permit wrong thoughts [or motives] to dwell in our hearts, we will ultimately speak them. Whatever is hidden in our hearts will sooner or later be expressed openly through our mouths,” cautions Evangelist Joyce Meyer.
Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages also believes that words have great impact. He even identifies, “Words of Affirmation,” as a basic love language for some individuals. “One way to express love emotionally is to use words that build up,” explains the bestselling writer. “Verbal compliments, or words of appreciation, are powerful communicators of love,” adds Chapman.
However, sometimes relationships, and especially marriages, fall into a vicious cycle where partners exchange criticisms and complaints, instead of encouraging words. When a relationship reaches this point, author and speaker, Nancy Leigh DeMoss suggests fasting critical comments for 30 days to break the destructive pattern.
Because a man’s greatest need in relationship is respect, the harm of disrespectful words can cause great division. Since a woman’s primary need is for love, she will also begin to have damaged emotions from constant verbal criticism.
Biblical writer, James understood the power of words. “But the human tongue can be tamed by no man. It is a restless…evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who were made in God’s likeness! Out of the same mouth come forth blessing and cursing. These things, my brethren, ought not to be so.” James 3:8-10
We can’t tame our own tongues, but God can. After all, most of us realize that domestic violence is never acceptable often forgetting that verbal battering is another form of abuse. Therefore, ask the Holy Spirit to guard your mouth during disagreements. In addition, realize that you don’t have to raise your voice to be abusive. Rather a demeaning tone or the viciousness of accusatory words can break a loved one’s heart. I will honestly admit that I’m writing this, because controlling my words has been one of my greatest life struggles.
If you are like me, and you do feel yourself losing control, walk away from the situation, until you are able to deal with the confrontation more calmly. Also, apologize to those you have wounded in the past, assuring them that you are working on communicating more appropriately. Pray for wisdom, requesting God’s help in changing destructive verbal behavior. “But the wisdom from above is first of all pure; then it is peace loving, courteous, (considerate, gentle). [It is willing to] yield to reason, full of compassion and good fruits…” James 3:17
If you have read all of the above, then please watch this incredibly insightful, but very short video that millions of viewers have seen on YouTube. You will be amazed at how we say, what we say, affects our lives. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hzgzim5m7oU
Christina Ryan Claypool is a 1st place Amy Award winning freelance journalist and Christian speaker. She is the author of the book, Seeds of Hope for Survivors. Contact her through her Website at www.christinaryanclaypool.com