Words That Hurt

What is that coming out of your mouth?

by Lura Langenback

© November 21, 2002

We all know that when someone says an unkind word, it could and many times does hurt. Often people don't even know that they are causing that pain. That is because the person does not understand or does not care that words contain substance. All we know is that something happens when a loved one, or even a stranger, speaks on a subject that we are very sensitive about. For instance, I am overweight and people can be cruel. In any situation, there is always someone willing to point that fact out to me, occasionally in a rude manner. So, we are all aware of these words that hurt. But are there other times when words hurt you?

In the past, when things were not working right, the first words from my mouth tended to be something like "Could anything else possibly go wrong?" Another classic is "If it's not one thing, it's a hundred (thousand..or whatever lovely number you choose to insert there) other things." The kids are acting up, doing things that drive you nuts. Think of the first thing that you say. Is it "I am getting sick and tired of you not doing what you are told."? How about "You kids are driving me crazy. I need a vacation." Whatever the words are, they tend to have some type of negative effect, often unknown to you. What did you say?

Words are process starters. You have heard the old adage that says "What you say is what you get." That is exactly what happens. Unfortunately, we tend to have the negative happen more often than the positive. Wondering why that is? Because we live in a sin-natured world and the power of the prince of the air makes it easier for the negative things to manifest themselves. "What does that mean to me?"

Have you been feeling a lot more tired lately and you aren't sure why? Is it easier to get sick now than it used to be? The doctors want to tell you that it's because of your lifestyle. That may very well have something to do with it. However, can you think back to the last time you said to your kids, spouse, co-worker that you were sick and tired of something? How often does that come out of your mouth? Often? Is it possible that you brought that on yourself by saying that?

Words are filled with power. I don't believe that any of us are truly aware how much power are contained in words we say recklessly, off-handedly, in jest. "I could kill you for that." Could you really? But you said it. Somewhere inside, there is a seed of what you said growing in your heart. You may not ever actually follow through with that thought but it is there, nevertheless. From that, other thoughts about that person grow until you come to a point where you may be thinking of every single thing that she or he did to you, how they hurt you, stole time or anything else from you, made you angry.

What does the Bible have to say about this?

James 3:8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

I made a search of a number of translations and they all, without fail, said that the tongue is full of poison. Obviously, the Lord thinks that there is a problem with speaking out then.

Matthew 12:34-35, "O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."

How does it feel to be called a viper? Yet, that is exactly what the tongue is capable of, poison and harm. It sounds very much like we are not able to speak good things, doesn't it? So, what is the use? But then He says:

Matthew 12:35-36, "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things."

It follows that if we choose to put good things into our hearts, good things come out of the mouth.

Then we also must face the fact that the Lord is not tolerant of idle chatter, things that you may believe mean nothing but, in fact, are disastrous to someone else or yourself.

Matthew 12:36, "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment."

Now THAT is positively scary, isn't it? Think about some of the things you said that were supposedly funny. "The first thing to go is my memory and I can't remember the second." HA HA HA. Good joke, right? But what if that begins a process that ends in you having Alzheimers? Not possible? Don't bet your memory or your life on it. Or perhaps the kids are getting "on your last nerve." And sometime soon after, you are amazed that you have to take medicine because you are depressed or constantly on edge since you never had to do that before. Ah well, it's probably just you getting older. Are you sure of that? How about what you have to say about someone else? What if that one cute little joke you said about a co-worker was the last straw in that person's life. What if, when you told your daugther that she was the cutest little fat girl you had ever seen, she smiled at you but then went to her room and cried her eyes out because it wasn't a joke to her even though it was to you. No wonder the Lord calls the tongue poison.

We do not know what we are bringing on ourselves with our words. They are hurting us but we don't even see it. Now is the time to remove the blinders and take a hard look at what comes out of our mouth. Remember, God is watching AND listening. Why not begin to watch what you say. Think for a moment exactly what it is that has come out of your mouth without realizing it. I had someone tell me that I said some things and I had not realized I said it. Maybe you have had this happen too. It startled me to know that I had said something like that. And I didn't even NOTICE it.

So, what now? God has something for that too.

Philippians 4:8-10, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you."

Didn't we just say that if we put good things into the heart, then good things come out of the mouth? But there is an added benefit. Do not overlook it. The last thing in the verse says:

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you."

And the God of peace shall be with you. "Oh, if only I could have a few minutes of peace." Sound familiar? Sounds like every person I have talked to that has a hectic life. Sounds like the mother with a newborn who has no idea how to cope. Sounds like the mother with several kids, all of whom are trying to be the biggest brat in the family. Sounds like the father who comes home knowing that his paycheck isn't quite going to cover everything and he doesn't know what to do about it. Sounds like the employee who can't keep up with the expectations of the boss. Sounds like the guy in traffic who just got cut off by the latest road rage nut. Sounds like you, doesn't it?

According to what God tells us, if we start to fill our hearts with the good things, then we can expect the mouth to change. There is an old adage that says "if you can't say something good about a person, don't say anything." It is time to follow that.

My first act, of my new positive heart, is to ask you if you know Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord? If not, please consider asking Him into your heart today to begin the process. He will forgive your sins. Yes, ALL of them. If you do already know Him, pick up that Bible, talk to the Lord and start the ball rolling on a new life in the Lord. He will meet you right where you are. Sometimes we do tend to forget that. If you have walked away, come back. He is a loving and forgiving Father. His Words don't hurt a bit and that will bring the "peace that passes all understanding" into your life. How do I know? It's in the Book.