Have you ever been the recipient ever or the deliverer of harsh words? I was considering this recently. “Hurry up!” my mom yelled. We were running late as usual. 7th grade was tough enough, but add in being late almost every morning, and it made it almost excruciating. This morning, however, would be slightly different. “With it, we bless our Lord and Father, and with it, we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” – James 3:9-10
Two things stand out very distinctly about that day. 1) It was cold. An oddity in central Georgia and 2) the words from my mom’s mouth when I mentioned I’d forgotten my trumpet. Again. “Why do you have to be so stupid?” It felt like a ton of bricks had just been dropped on me. My mom apologized and never said anything like that again. However, my mom already spoke the words. She did the damage. Fast forward to June of 2020. Colorado. The perfect vacation. Except for the screaming, inconsolable, and irrationally crying 10-year-old sitting in my truck. I wasn’t even sure what she was upset about, but I knew I’d reached my limit. “You’re being ridiculous!” Those words came out before I could stop them. To say that she was crushed was an understatement. Looking into the mirror at my child’s sad face, I wondered if my mom saw the same brokenness and hurt in my own eyes.
Our Words Matter
Our words carry great weight and power. Do you remember that old saying about sticks and stones and words not hurting? Well, it’s a lie. James is very clear about the power and destructiveness of our words. Not only do they wield enormous power to control and shape things, but they also build and tear down others. James recognized the power of the tongue when he said if you could control it, you were perfect (3:2). Our speech guides us and controls us. It reveals our hearts. James 3:6 states that the tongue is unrighteous, set on fire by Hell; it could not be tamed, a restless evil, and poisonous. Harsh words for such a small part of our body! As dads and husbands, we often find ourselves quickly caught in the trap of being on guard for “man” sins…porn, lust, ambition, overworking, and others. We strive hard not to succumb to these sins, yet we often overlook or even forget the weight a few simple words carry. So what do we do? Ephesians 4:29 gives us the answer. Paul states that we are not to have any “corrupting talk,” but instead words, “such as is good for building up…that it may give grace to those who hear”.
Loving Speech Instead of Harsh Words
We should use our words to build up and edify, even when we are upset or disciplining our children. It’s tough in the heat of the moment to remember, but our words are supposed to build up. As we continuously take captive every thought, we will naturally take captive our words. Over time as we submit to His will and grow in personal holiness, just like our actions become more Christ-like, so does our speech. Continue to ask Him to help you take your thoughts AND words captive and submit them to His leading! A tough order? Most definitely! A must as a godly man? Emphatically YES! Richard Faucett For more UNCOMMEN blog articles, please visit our archives.