Words That Cut!
You do not wake up one morning a bad person. It happens by a thousand tiny surrenders of self-respect to self-interest.
The words of people can cut like a knife. They always have and they always will. That is because even the toughest of people have been created by God with the softest of hearts. We are fragile on so very many levels and no matter what it is we try to show the world, the bottom line is that we are capable of being hurt….sometimes irreparably so. I suspect….no I KNOW…. that is the reason so many mothers of the world teach their children from an early age a phrase whose understanding is as imperative today as it has ever been….perhaps even more so in light of the bullying epidemic that has seized to world! “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!” I know it was a mantra in our house when the kids were young because I was a first hand witness myself of what bullying does to a person. Yes, I witnessed first hand what others NOT having a reasonable understanding of these words were capable of doing to another. Words and their accompanying actions cut like a knife and words and their accompanying actions erode the very fabric of our self-esteem.
I find the fact that this behavior is so often missed or ignored by people who profess to know God rather amazing, especially in light of the fact that the authors of the Bible went to great lengths to teach us the importance of loving and living in harmony one with the other. Just think about these things for a moment. The Bible prohibits murder (Exodus 20:13), adultery (Exodus 20:14), stealing (Exodus 20:15) and giving false testimony (Exodus 20:16). Sound familiar? It should. They are all part of the laws God gave to man when he placed the Ten Commandments in Moses’ arms. We are also reminded throughout its pages that we are to behave a certain way, even when it is we who have been put on the receiving end of hurtful actions. “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse” (Romans 12:14) and “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath” (Romans 12:19). And yet, even when wrong is done, there can always be a lesson learned from the experience. Remember Joseph whose brothers sold him into slavery in Genesis? Well when he was reunited with them after many years, he told them that what was done was really for a greater purpose. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20).
So for a moment think about some things you may have said without even realizing it, that may have served to hurt another. How about these examples:
- “That’s ridiculous! How can you be upset about that?”
- “You’re just like _____.” “Why can’t you be more like_____?”
- “You never do anything right. You’re nothing but a loser.”
- “I’m through with you!”
- “I hate you!”
Life is not easy. Things happen at every turn that creates chaos in our day. And, after a time, we can not help but have these stresses change our behaviors, especially to those who are closest to us……our spouse or our children. But we can choose to control how we allow these stressors in our lives to affect us. We can close our eyes and ask God for the strength to see that while we can not control others, we can control the way we react to things that are said or done. We can refuse to be victimized by those words and actions. We can see ourselves in the same light that God sees us because when He looks at us, I believe He sees people born of His Holy Spirit and justified by His grace. And that is not just good enough for me but indeed, it is all that really matters!
31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Ephesians 4: 31-32
22 A furious man cannot be justified; for the sway of his fury shall be his destruction. 23 A patient man will tear for a time, and afterward joy shall spring up unto him.
Wisdom of Jesus Son of Sirach 1: 22-23
(KJV with Apocrypha)
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