God’s love is for everyone and when we use hurtful words or stress our opinions on to others, we back away from showing God’s grace. In a world filled with distress, it is time to lift others up by showing them we care and by giving grace to all.
Giving Grace With Our Words
“Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” – Hebrews 3:13
Stinky butt! Poopie head! Fur Ball!
I can recall in elementary school being a big part of the taunting game, calling my friends ridiculous and insignificant names. Around the age of seven, I can remember using the phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” I would say this phrase out of retaliation. And whenever another child insulted me, I, of course, would then follow it up by sticking my tongue out at them. My taunts back included; “I am rubber and you are glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks back to you”. And then with a few more trades in words, we all ended it with a fun game of tag, your it!
Wouldn’t life be a little simpler if we could just brush off the words stated by others and resume a “normal” life without repeating past conversations over and over again, in our heads? But we don’t.
As we age, name-calling has become more damaging and impactful to our souls. And oftentimes it isn’t just name-calling, it can be unfiltered and thought-provoking negative connotations. Living in the era of growing technology, social media allows many to have a platform without having a direct face-to-face conversation. And for the sake of losing that up close and personal connection, it is easy for people to drop a comment on a post and just vanish. The thought of not having to see someone’s response makes it easier for them to state their opinion and move on to the next “friend”. HECK, they may even get others on the thread to back them, making matters worse.
Words Don’t Go Away
Here is the problem. Triggering emotions can leave others in the wake of an exploding derogatory name-calling downpour. Yes, sticks and stones can break your bones. But words – OUCH!!! They can haunt you for a lifetime. A slip of the tongue can aid in ruining someone’s day, week, or even for years to come.
As children, we can’t easily write off a comment with a silly saying and then go back to hanging out as close friends. But it no longer holds true the older you get. In fact, we react by instantly guarding our hearts. When we have been placed in a toxic and vulnerable situation, it is by instinct that we stop to press pause to evaluate our relationship with this particular person. Boundaries then become the conduit to having disjointed conversations with others. Meaning, when we have been hurt by one, it can spill over into other close friendships.
It hurts us deeply when others become preoccupied with their reactionary opinions. No matter the age, guaranteed, you have heard your parents say; “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. Some, though, feel as if their spoken words and one-and-done comments will help or at most question our ability to make decisions. Proverbs 18:21 states; “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” This verse packs a commanding punch.
Our tongue has the power to provide love and to say hurtful things, and the crazy thing is, we can do it all in one sentence. This may be the hardest lesson to learn. You see, it isn’t just a message about learning how to tame your tongue because, even if you could, your worded opinions will never change your heart. In Matthew 12:33-34, Jesus teaches us the connection between what we say and the standing of our hearts.
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
What you speak is in direct correlation to the status of your heart. If you have a problem with saying hurtful things to others, it is not an issue of taming your tongue. It is an indication of where your heart stands. You may have to dig deep to find the root of the problem. This we will not solve here today. I do, however, encourage you, if you are the giver of discriminatory words, to seek Christian counsel and ask God to reveal the truth so you may gain a heart of wisdom. The Lord can heal you of those deep heart issues, and make you a new creation, where out of your heart will flow beauty from ashes.
A tongue filled with blame will bring about shame, but kindhearted words will always amaze.Jen Schreiner
Extending God’s Grace to Others – Giving Grace
Opening our eyes to the root of the problem enables us as the receiver to have compassion for those who are struggling with a heart issue. While it is smart to keep within your boundaries, you can clearly understand and pray for those people who continue to live in animosity. They will never find peace with a heart full of strife.
As we sit in prayer, let’s not only pray for God to open the eyes of their hearts but for us as well. May we be the vessels He created us to be, showing and sharing about His great love. We cannot expect to change people, but through the Holy Spirit, lives will be changed.
When we are confident in God’s promises, we can move forward. Having a strong foundational viewpoint will provide an important understanding as to why kindness and love should always matter. This verse from Ephesians 4:32 is one of my favorites. It says; “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Let us remember to love our neighbors as Christ has freely done to us. No matter what hurtful words have been said to us by others, we are all God’s masterpieces, beautifully created in His image. Yes, both the sinner and the saint. We can have healthy boundaries in place, but we also need to extend forgiveness to others in the process of our own healing.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for today and for your unfailing grace that you provide to us daily. Help us to open the eyes of our hearts and to see things as if you see them. Give us the ability to love others like you would and to prompt us to pray instead of trying to fix each circumstance with our words. We thank you for loving on us unconditionally, even when we fall short of your glory. In all this, we ask in your name, Jesus. – Amen!