Thursday, 27 September 2012

the unintentional consequences of a word harshly spoken

I'm sure we've all experienced it. Someone says something, some little tiny thing. By itself, it's not anything big. In fact, it's hardly a thing at all. They don't think so, anyway. It was a flippant comment, one of those things that probably, in the long run, prove that they think of you as a real friend--not the sort of friend to cry on, of course, but the sort of friend that will understand a sarcastic remark about some aspect of your person. And though they didn't mean it that way, though any anger that might have been present in the comment is quickly gone, it festers.

Not with them, of course. But with you. You rehash that moment over and over in your mind, replaying the comment, remembering how foolish it made you feel, how inadequate, how ridiculous. That tiny comment, so insignificant, becomes the only thing we can think about. It comes to define how we see ourselves, and more than that, the way we think other people see us--even, sometimes, how we think God sees us. Because, after all, if I am such-and-such to so-and-so, how can I not be such-and-such to everyone else?

And, very often without realizing it, we are sometimes on the giving end of this scenario. A single flippant comment, said in jest. A sarcastic comeback. A word spoken amiss. A word spoken in anger. A rant given to a friend that is carried to another friend. And so it is that it is not for nothing that the tongue is called the most dangerous instrument known to men. It can ruin a life with a single word.

Granted, it's not often that a make-or-break comment is made. Sometimes, things are easily brushed off. Sometimes they're not. Nevertheless, given that the words that come out of our mouth can be so destructive, it's very important to watch over them.

The Bible is very clear on this matter. Psalm exhorts us to ask God to ensure that the "words of [our] mouth, and the meditations of [our] heart" be pleasing in God's sight. It later talks about God's praise being "continually" in our mouths. Obviously, our mouth--just like every other bit of us--was designed for the purpose of glorifying the One who made us. But how is that supposed to rule our interactions with our fellow creations?

Ephesians 2:9 warns us to "let no corrupt word proceed" out of our mouths, but instead that which is good for edification--a big Bible word that basically means the learning of other believers. But those little words, those things said in anger...can those things be edifying? I would say not.

Now, I will admit (and freely) that I am as guilty of this as anybody else. I have a temper. A big one. And I'm not always (okay, very often not) successful at keeping it in check. Add to that the fact that I've a way with words, at least sometimes. Sometimes it turns into a less-than-exemplary bit of word-craft, and I end up sitting there afterwards, wondering just why I said that, and why it is that I'm so horrid. So in the end, I suppose it all just comes down to the same basic thing that everything else in life does.

I can't do this without God's help. I can't avoid saying those things. I can't avoid being awful. Not without Him. But the awesome thing is that he does want to help. That he's ready to help. And isn't that amazing?
 Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. - Psalm 141:3


  1. Wow, Kyla, that really hits home. I have a friend who is more sensitive to this sort of thing than I am, and I have actually made her cry with my words and the tone they were spoken in.

    Whoever said "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. It is so vital that we watch our tongues.

    Thank you for this reminder!

  2. This was such a GREAT article, Kyla! :D I really enjoyed it. I think you made some great points in here and it is EXTREMELY relevant to everything I go through! :) Thank you soooo much for what you do for Jesus! Can't wait to get to know you better!

    Mary Kate :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...