When the words get in the way...
Words. They literally say it all.
[And before I go any further, I feel like an absolute hypocrite for posting this. You see, I have a problem with my mouth. In so many ways. My mantra and life verse (for years) is Ephesians 4:29 (NLT). There was a time in my life when my language was beyond foul (I still fight it at times now). And more often than not, negative comments only flew out. And my tone… ugh. But, I’m working on it; still…]
Words hurt (that grade school rhyme about sticks and stones is a lie!). There’s a reason the Bible mentions our mouths and tongues so frequently. Words can both encourage and discourage us—quickly. Give us life, or bring upon us death (or at least the desire for).
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”
And unfortunately, I take everything said (written) to and about me personally. I even read into things said to others in my presence as innuendos meant for me, and sadly, find issue with things that don’t even actually get spoken, I just presume are silently inferred. According to Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages, my most prevalent love language is ‘words of affirmation’ (with ‘acts of service” a close second.) [Basically, tell me I’m pretty and bring me coffee and my love tank will be filled for days.] This simply means that I hold all words in high regard (probably not too surprising coming from a writer)—the good and the bad ones. The ones I hear as much as the ones I say (Proverbs 17:27). Everything we say should not only not be negative, derogatory or hurtful, they should be intended for well-being, encouragement and in love (Matthew 12:36, Isaiah 55:11).
Perhaps you’ve heard the saying: Lord, please keep your arm over my shoulder, and your hand over my mouth. (Psalm 141:3) But what if we truly tried to live our lives as if He is? What if we allowed Him to guide and comfort us with the arm around our shoulders, and hesitated and listened while His hand covered our mouths? When words are [said] about us that bring upon ‘death’, His arm of comfort will be the safety we need, and His hand will stop us from lashing out against those that hurt us. If we trusted Him enough in these moments, we wouldn’t feel rejected, insignificant or even really be hurt. We’d be reminded that we are a child of God’s, and He is the only One we need to be worried about pleasing. And guess what? He loves you, unconditionally, regardless of what others think or say (and don’t think or say, but you’ve convinced yourself they do…) [*cough*]
"...we are a child of God's, and He is the only One we need to be worried about pleasing."
What sparked this topic? I received a negative review on my book. I began doubting my abilities and my discernment from God. I felt like I failed Him in an area that He entrusted me with. Ever been there? Welcome to the club. But it’s a club that He’s already paid the dues for. That reviewer gave their thoughts. I can use them to make the sequel better. And they brought me back out of the clouds. And it forced me to trust that God knows what He’s doing. He wasn’t surprised by the review. And He was more than willing to wrap His arm around me in comfort, and clasp His hand over my mouth in peace.
And He’ll do the same for you, if you’ll let Him. Trust Him.
Do you trust Him? Or do you trust what others [say]?