Words are a very funny thing. With a few words we can help someone who has been struggling their entire lives to find their self-worth. On the other hand, with just a few words we can bring people to their knees and set them back years and years in their emotional development.
Jesus knew this all too well and He set the perfect example for us in how to use words properly. Jesus knew exactly what to say to people exactly when they needed to hear it. This included both building people up as well as rebuking those who were in need of it. Yet even the rebuking was meant for the people’s good and never to simply cut someone down.
I cannot count the number of times I have counseled people, and it literally took weeks to help them get back to normal, because someone said something to them that hurt them profoundly. And they said it on purpose. With the intent to hurt them.
Why? Why do we insist on doing this to each other? We know that we do not like it when others do it to us, yet we still continue to use words in hurtful ways.
Jesus goes on to tell us in Matthew that, “Everyone will have to give an account on the day of judgment on the day of judgment for every word they have spoken.”
Now does hearing that help you to want to watch a little more carefully the words you use with others?
I can just imagine Jesus looking me in the eye and saying, “So Brad, about that time in high school when you called that young man a name I will not repeat. Can you please give me a good reason why you said that? Did you know that because you said that to him, he was self conscious for the rest of his life and it caused him to miss out on many things in his life because he refused to go out in public thinking others would say the same thing to him as you did.”
Wow. Ummmmm. Ok. Saying “I’m sorry”, at this time, is just a little late. A life has been altered in horrible ways. Now I have to look the Creator of Everything in the eye and tell Him that there in fact is no good answer to His question. I simply should have had more control over my mouth and been more loving and caring towards others.
Please feel free to use my situation as the fuel that you will use to think about it the next time you feel the need to cut someone deeply with your words.
Instead, how about you use your words to build others up? Or better yet, just forgive those who have hurt you and let Jesus deal them the justice they have coming. Let them have this conversation with Jesus, not you!
Take it from someone who firstly uses words every day to teach others God’s Word, and secondly from someone who uses words to heal others who have been deeply hurt by words, your words matter! Use them wisely!
Pastor Brad Komgenick