I know that you have probably never been caught up in the moment of a heated discussion with someone that you love where your whole witness of Christianity was whisked out the window through the winds of hurtful words, dissension and strife. No, not you or me or any other “good” Christian would “lose it” and say things that cut to the core of an individual’s whole being!
I say this facetiously as we all have experienced those times when we wish we could take back the words that came spewing out of our mouths in the heat of the moment when we were caught off guard by a strategically placed attack of the enemy through a friendship or relationship. Ephesians 6:11 says that we should put on the whole armor of God that we might be able to stand against the wiles of the devil because we do not fight against people but against the spirit that is driving or motivating the person. The argument between two people is demonically instigated and strategically placed as an attack to destroy relationships!
Ephesians 6:10-12 NLT A final word: Be strong with the Lord’s mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in heavenly realms.
None of us are perfect; we all experience anger and emotions that arise from a hurtful past or injustices done to us by another individual. Those hurts lie dormant until someone rips the scab off the wound and suddenly a monster arises from within that is far from the picture of the Christian that we profess to be. And as the saying goes, “hurting people hurt people”. It is often the ones closest to us that receives the poison of the infection that lies dormant in those wounds that have not been submitted to God for cleansing and healing. Healing for those wounds is available in Christ Jesus when we submit them to Him as Luke 4:18, 19 says that Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted.
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
While it’s true that a person who has received Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord is a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17), and all the things of the old life are passed away with newness of life in Christ replacing them, the old nature can still rise up and exhibit itself when pressured if we aren’t aware and ready to meet the challenge that has arisen through the form of an angry temptation or attack.
Paul says that one of the characteristics of the unrighteous, or those who have not received Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord is that their throat is an open tomb and with their tongues they have practiced deceit. The poison of asps is under their lips. He goes on to say this:
Romans 3:14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
When a person receives Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord their spirit is regenerated or made new. The spirit of man is where the Holy Spirit lives. But the spirit of man is just one part of man’s makeup. We are a spirit being because we are made in the image and likeness of God, who is Spirit. He has equipped us to live on this earth through giving us a body that is able to exist with the material elements around us and He has placed within each one of us a soul, which is our mind, will and emotions. While the spirit of man is reborn through forgiveness of our sin and receiving Christ Jesus as Savior, the only One who can cleanse us from our sin and make us whole and new again, the soul must be changed through a process of renewal. The mind has to be renewed to God’s way of thinking, the will must be yielded to God’s way of living and the emotions must be submitted to God’s way of feeling. The body always follows the soul in acting out what man’s soul feels, thinks and chooses to do. This change of the soul is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. Jesus, while rebuking the Pharisees for blaspheming the Holy Spirit, said that the mouth speaks out of what is in abundance in the heart.
Matthew 12:34 “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
Notice that he addressed them as a brood of vipers because in their unregenerate state of sin the poison of asps was under their tongues and their mouth was full of cursing and bitterness just as Paul described the unregenerate person in Romans 3:13, 14. They could not help but speak out of that state of sinfulness that had not been cleansed. Their heart was full of evil things. He again referred to the fullness of a heart that has not been fully cleansed, healed and filled with God’s thoughts and ways in Matthew 15:16-20:
NLT “Don’t you understand?” Jesus asked him, “Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes out of the body. But evil words come from an evil heart and defile the person who says them. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all other sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands could never defile you and make you unacceptable to God.”
Jesus said that evil words come from a heart that has in abundance evil thoughts. Out of that abundance comes murderous words, lies and slanderous statements. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
King David wrote in Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.
The sinful thoughts that we hold in our hearts have been a problem for all people from the time that sin first entered into man’s life through the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Sin creates sinful thoughts, words and actions.
So, according to the scriptures that we have seen so far, the words that come out of our mouths can either bless or curse, give life or bring death, build up or tear down and the words that we speak show where we are spiritually. They are an indicator of what needs to be changed in our hearts.
Is there hope for us when we slip and say hurtful things to another person? Of course, when we come to Jesus to confess the wrong that we have done we are assured that He will cleanse us and forgive us from the sin.
1 John 1:9 NKJV If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
God forgives and it is Him that has ultimately been sinned against when we walk outside of the love that He has placed in our hearts. The first thing to do is confess that sin to Him and receive His cleansing.
Then the next thing we need to do is to go to the person that we have hurt or who has hurt us and work it out with them. That may mean asking forgiveness for what we’ve said or done or it may mean that we tell that other person that we forgive them for hurting us.
Jesus instructs us in Matthew 18:15 that “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the fault. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.” And again in Luke 17:4 that “Even if he wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, forgive him.” So in both of these instances we are admonished to make it right with the other person, whether it be our fault or theirs.
So, what is the ultimate purpose for our words? God does have a purpose and a plan for our words. We will continue this discussion in Part 2. Please be sure to stop back by.
Father, I come before You today to ask forgiveness for the times when my words have wounded another person. Father, I realize that there are times when I am caught off guard or may be having a stressful day when an attack comes from the evil one through someone else to destroy our relationship. Father, I pray that I might be more aware of those times; that I might see the signs of an attack coming and be quick to turn from that offense and offer forgiveness. I pray also that I might see the temptation that is placed before me to use my words to wound instead of to heal. And I confess to You that the fault has been mine at times and then at other times I have been the recipient of someone else’s stress or wounds that have not been submitted to You for healing. Whatever the case might be, Father, I pray that You will make me aware of it and show me how to avoid being wounded or causing a wound in another’s heart.
I pray for those today who have wounds that have not yet been submitted to You for healing. I pray, Father, that You will reach down and pull out the roots of bitterness that have been sown in their hearts that is waiting to grow up and defile not only them but others around them. I pray that You will heal the hurts in people’s hearts that is causing them to be on the defense at things that others say to them. I pray that You will set them free from the bondage of pain and sorrow from the hurts that they are experiencing. Father, heal and restore them to wholeness. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.