February 14, 2021
By Gina Padilla
One of the biggest lies I’ve ever uttered is: “Stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
Words not only hurt, they can cut your soul and linger in the air laughing as you bleed. Words can knock you to the floor quicker than a gut punch and leave you gasping for breath. Words can make a secure adult feel like an insecure child questioning everything they ever believed. “Is this true? Is this what you really think of me? If it’s not true why did you say it?”
The Bible speaks a lot about the tongue and its power to tear down or build-up.
“The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.”Proverbs 15:4 NIV
In our present age, we can apply this same wisdom to our fingertips before we tweet, text or make a comment on a Facebook post by asking the following:
- Do our words lift up?
- Are our words kind and wholesome?
- What is the goal of our words?
- Do our words bring God glory?
We know that evil words linger in the ears and minds of those that heard them long after they’re spoken, so how much more do hurtful texts, emails or posts linger in the minds of those when they’re put on the internet where nothing is ever permanently deleted?
While you may feel “good” getting in the last word of a Twitter or Facebook spat, what have you really accomplished? If you succeed in humiliating someone in a public argument, other than stoking your pride, what is the benefit?
“A brother who has been insulted is harder to win back than a walled city, and arguments separate people like barred gates of a palace.”Proverbs 18:19 NCV
When we fire off a response we “just have to get off our chest,” we’re not using words the right way. We need to step back, get our pride out of the way and refocus on Jesus. What would Jesus tweet? When you tweet or post, are you seeking to understand or just stating your own opinion?
“Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.”Proverbs 18:2 NIV
Disagreements will happen, but how we conduct ourselves during disagreements is what matters. We need to remember that the person that we are disagreeing with matters to God and understand what our words — spoken or written — can do.
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”Proverbs 18:21 NIV
Did you tweet life or death today? What comes out of our mouths or through our fingers also affects us. We can feed ourselves and others poison and death or seeds of life. The more we think and type nasty the more we’ll stay in a nasty frame of mind. The more we think and type kindness, the more we will stay uplifted.
If you have enough kind words to draw from, the kind words can drown out the negative noise in your mind. For some reason we tend to believe negative comments much more than positive ones. We can get nine positive comments and one negative one and focus solely on the negative. Knowing our propensity to believe the negative, how much more important is it to always speak or type with the goal of lifting up? Who can you give life to today with your words? To whom can you send a kind text or comment?
There will always be people we disagree with. Thank God not everyone thinks the same! But we need to be careful with our words and seek wisdom from God before we respond. Sometimes when we’ve been provoked, our best course of action is kindness. Always speak the truth, but do so in love. The more we know God’s word and have His perspective, the easier it can be to do that.
“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”1 Peter 3:9 NIV