I’ve said some harsh words lately. Not as many as I wanted to say, but still too many. Colossians 4:6 tells us to “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” I’m afraid my words have been seasoned with hot spices lately.
I can argue that there were reasons why I felt the need to forget the salt, but those would be worldly reasons. Is there really a justification for sinning? In God’s grace, He used this as an opportunity to grow me, because I was also on the receiving end of some very harsh words. Words that crushed me in the moment. Words that had me questioning, for several days, my faith growth, my ministry, and my purpose. Words that made me sob in the night.
Through the sobbing, I often heard the Spirit reminding me of good things. Reminding me of precious words said to me in the past. Reminding me that God loves me and nothing will diminish His love for me. Reminding me that when I asked for His forgiveness, He forgave me. Reminding me that my worth in His eyes does not depend on what people think of me.
He also sent other reminders of His grace through people who unknowingly offered encouragement. Through the words of a song. Through a devotional. I’d like to share from a book I started reading again which seemed to address my heart and thoughts.
“As people grow older their convictions become stronger, and there is danger of harsh words even among Christians unless they are consciously looking to the Lord moment by moment for grace. Sometimes it is well to remember Job’s ironic remark, ‘No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you’ (Job 12:2) – for certainly wisdom will not die with us. A man can sometimes test the importance of what he wants to say by asking himself how he will feel about it the next morning and whether he would say it if he could see Christ in the room (for He is there where Christians are gathered). (New Every Morning by Philip E. Howard, Jr.)
Words flow easily from our lips. Wise words take more effort.
Proverbs 10:19 “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.”
James 1:19-20 “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
I’ve been reminded through this of how the words I say can crush the spirit of someone. Words said with grace can teach the same lesson as words said harshly, but with less scars.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your grace. Guard my words, give me wisdom to season them with grace, and use me in the lives of others to help and to heal rather than to wound. Amen.
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