Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wounding Words {Lent Day #9}

The sad thing is that I didn't think I was capable of this.  Speaking words that wound.  Growing up, I was on the receiving end of a lot of wounding words, harsh, sarcastic tones, raised voices, and unbridled criticism.  It was painful then, and the the memories can still produce grief.  I would never do that to anyone I loved, I thought. But here are some things I find myself having to say frequently and sadly, reluctantly...

"I'm sorry I got angry when we were talking about..." {insert either important or silly, non-crucial issue}

"I'm sorry I raised my voice. Mom's are not supposed to do that."

"I know it hurt you when I said..."

"I'm sorry I talked about that person {that you are required to submit to, reach out to, minister to...} in a negative way..."

Or it's sometimes like this...

"I'm sorry I did not talk to you about...{any difficult situation}...I should have done that."

Or it could be that I just don't speak at all, withholding words of blessing, encouragement, praise, affection, friendly questions, and prayer with and for others.  Why do I do that?  Because with my spoken and unspoken words I cling for power and praise, respect for myself and the control of others.

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 
Ephesians 4: 29

When I read that this morning, it made me think of two others:

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Proverbs 18:21

{and I like how it's "worded" in the Message: Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit ~ you choose.}

and 

There is one who speaks rashly, like the thrusts of the sword {ouch!}, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 12: 18

There are HUNDREDS more verses than that regarding words and the tongue.  During my college days, I was challenged to the task of looking up and writing out all of the verses in the Bible that mention the tongue or words.  Whoa.  It's frightening, really.  A near impossible standard that I'm wrestling with even this week.

Lord, I confess my hurtful words and tone, my un-helpful, non-grace-giving words ~ words that are in order to build myself up and put another down.  Forgive me and my lack of control in speaking.  You often strengthen me to forsake hurtful words and even to speak words of truth and grace, but still I regularly choose against your exhortation to either remain silent or to speak encouragement to others. These are things that required your death on my behalf.  Thank you for forgiveness as well as transformation.  Give me a tongue that speaks selfless healing as well as praise to others and to you.

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