“It was not so much what grandmother said as how she said it. She made wounds that rankled and festered.” Jane of Lanternhill by L.M. Montgomery
While reading these words the Lord’s truth was revisited.
The seasons of dealing with negative words has taught me how severe an impact words can have.
More than one job I’ve had revolved around dealing with problems.
Which means listening to constant complaints.
At one season the complaints had been so weighty and over bearing the effect was my attitude.
My joy slowly died, like a flowering plant transplanted beneath a thorn bush.
It took the Lord to show me how to manage the constant stream of complaints and not to accept them as personal failure.
And it was reading this book as a grandma which caused me to wonder.
Did Jane’s grandmother really realize how shriveled and barren her relationship with her granddaughter was?
Did she know it was due to her own tongue?
What were the motives behind the tongue whose seeds were sowing discord, pain, and estrangement?
Who else felt the sting of this woman’s impact through her words?
What about mine?
Are my words’ impact for good or bad?
Helpful or harmful?
How do I say things?
Is my attitude, tone, and body language appropriate, kind, loving?
What about when I’m stressed, depressed, hurting, or exhausted?
What’s the impact of my words?
The book of James has such wisdom pointed directly at the tongue:
“For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!”
James 3:2-5 NKJV
One doesn’t have to look far for the smoke or fire from another’s burning words.
But God grants us the ability to tame the tongue.
His Word, as in everything, is my guide.
Ephesians 4:29 has been a memory verse which helps me gage the impact of my words.
“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”
Ephesians 4:29 NKJV
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the reminder to watch what I say and how I say it. Thank You for holding up Your truth before me that I might see the impact of words. Lord, please continue to hone my character, that even in my words I might shine the light of Your truth.