What we say to one another can cause a great deal of harm. In Colossians 3:8-9, Paul tells us to get rid of ‘abusive language’ from our mouths. The Greek word Paul uses refers to the language we use when we want to hurt someone with our words.
When we are hurt by someone, we usually want to hurt back. It seems to take away the pain, at least for a moment. Most of us do not resort to physical violence; instead we use our words to hurt others.
But you and I have a new way to deal with our hurts. We are precious children of God who live in the safety and security of our Father’s kingdom. We are heirs with Jesus who await a certain and blessed future.
What others may say and do cannot thwart this reality. So we can refrain from using our mouths and our lips to harm those who harm us. We can choose, instead, to use our gift of speech to bless those who would curse us. This is exactly what Jesus called us to do, and as his apprentices we can learn to do this. I try to live each day with the awareness that my tongue can do a lot of damage, but also with the awareness that my words can heal and bless others.
One week I set a goal to use my words to bless someone once each day. It was an easy and enjoyable exercise. As I interacted with people I began to look for the good in what they were doing. I would take a moment to compose a blessing, or to find a way to let them know how much I appreciated what they had done. Each time I watched as their countenance was uplifted. A smile invariably came over their face.
It is a delight to use our mouths to bring God glory.
The tongue is a mighty force that can harm or heal. Under the leadership of Jesus, I can tame my tongue and train it to be used to bless and not to curse.
Gracious Abba, my lips are not yet sanctified. Anger and resentment find their way into my words. Help me to see others as you see them, as children made in your image. Teach me how to use words to bring light and life to those around me. Amen.
What recent examples of how you have spoken in a hurtful way toward, or in a slanderous way about, others come to mind? Confess them to the Lord, knowing that he offers you grace and a chance to begin again.