We have all been hurt to some degree by an unkind word, spoken intentionally or carelessly. The effects are sometimes fleeting but sometimes they change a person’s perspective on themselves. These words become the lens through we which we see ourselves and the world. These words break us down causing us to lose sight of who we are in Christ. No matter how hard we try, we cannot seem to overcome the negativity that envelopes us. We begin to believe that we are worthless and God has no use for us.
If we are honest with ourselves, we see that not only have we been victims of careless, hurtful words, we have used them. In our anger, in our frustration, words leave our mouths before we think about the effect they may have on others. Our sinful nature takes over, the words fly, and inevitably hit their target. Our Lord lets us know in no uncertain terms that we will be judged by what we say: “I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37, NRSV)
As Christ’s new creations, we die to our sinful ways and arise anew. We receive God’s grace and forgiveness, even for those careless words. We must but confess our sins: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10)
Those who call on the name of the Lord for forgiveness and grace must be prepared to share these words of forgiveness and grace to others when we are hurt by their words. We must also allow God’s forgiveness and grace seep into our hearts and out of our mouths when we speak words that tear another down. This is the will of God: “Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29) We must speak words of kindness and grace. Words to build up, not to tear down because "pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body" (Proverbs 16:24) for both the hearer and the speaker.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)
Praying for forgiveness and grace,