Words Hurt



Some of us are old enough to remember getting disciplined with a bar of soap in the mouth “Christmas Story Ralphie style,” when we said bad, or mean words. Today, the soap bar might be missing, but our mouth can still spout things that get us into hot water. Our mouth is like a runaway train without a conductor or as the Bible puts it an out of control fire full of iniquity. So how does one tame this wild beast called the tongue?

The Bible makes a few suggestions such as: slow to speak and quick to listen (James 1:19), put a guard over the mouth and don’t speak too much (Proverbs 13:3), and think before you speak (Proverbs 15:28). All are great admonitions of how to bring our words under control. There is a verse in James that gives us some direction on what we “should” be saying to each other,

“speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;”

Before you think this means you need to become a traveling troubadour, the words are rather directed toward one end, having our heart aligned with the Lord. This is necessary because as Luke 6:45 so aptly states, “for of the abundance of his heart his mouth speaketh.” When we check our heart and allow God to clean it up, we speak in a way that brings harmony, rhythm, agreeable sound, and encouragement to the hearer, we are, in essence, speaking God’s language.

These gentle words can de-escalate a situation and allow us to be the peacemakers whom God blesses. Below I’ve listed a few examples of how our dialogs can be transformed in order to bring harmony instead of gasoline to difficult conversations.

Fire: You always spend too much money.

Hymn: I’ve noticed our budget gets off track from time to time, do you have any suggestions on getting us back on track?

Fire: You forgot to mow the lawn.

Hymn: I know with your busy schedule you haven’t had time to mow the lawn. How can I help?

Fire: I’m tired of…

Hymn: I think I’m feeling frustrated. Can you help me with a solution to my problem?

Fire: You are acting unreasonable.

Hymn: I want to be able to properly consider your thoughts on this. Let’s take a break and pray, and then revisit this discussion later.

If we take a moment to think through the impact of harsh words, and cleanse our speech, we might enjoy better tasting conversations.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *