Does that statement bring back a bad memory? Do you remember the hurt or frustration surrounding the situation?
It does for me. A misunderstanding led to me becoming the target of some verbal accusations and insults. That was not fun. Although I was on the receiving end of that particular unpleasant attack, I have, unfortunately, also been the deliverer of verbal explosions a time or two (or three).
We’ve all heard that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” and we all know that it’s a LIE. The truth is sticks and stones may break my bones but words CAN REALLY HURT ME.
Early on in this series, I Heard This, You Said That, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder talked about unhelpful and unhealthful words—a concept brought to us from Ephesians 4:29:
Ephesians 4:29 NIV
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Last weekend, Joel Thomas, lead pastor at Mission Community Church, expanded on the concept of unhealthful words and where they come from—the heart.
The heart stores good—and evil. What you let outside your heart reveals what’s inside your heart. Luke 6:43-45 (NIV) explains it this way:
“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (emphasis added).
The question we need to ask ourselves is, “What is my heart full of?” Is it full of the fruit of the spirit: “love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, and self-control” (Gaatians 5:22-23)? Or is it loaded with harmful ammunition that becomes a weapon when it leaves our mouths as words?
As followers of Jesus, if we want to be more like him, we need to be filled with him. We need to surrender to him. We need to fill our hearts and minds with his truth by spending time with him daily in the Bible and prayer, attending church, fellowshipping with other believers, etc. As we do, the work he does in our hearts will become reflected in our words and our actions.
What is the condition of your heart? If you’re not content with that condition, what steps can you take to fill it with “good” things, godly things, to make it more like Jesus?
Pray and ask God to show you anything in your heart and life that is not pleasing to him (the bad fruit). Once you identify the bad fruit, confess and repent. Turn from it, and surrender to Jesus. Ask for his help and be intentional about filling up with things that will help you grow good fruit. Psalm 119:11 shows us that God’s word has the power to help us not to sin (or sin as much): “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Guard your heart and fill it with the Word so that your words may be helpful and healthy.
Lord, I confess that too often my words have become weapons that have defiled me and devastated others, reflecting areas of my heart that are not pleasing to you. Show me the bad fruit in my heart and life so that I may repent and surrender that to you. Help me to be intentional to fill my heart with more of you. May my words and my actions be a reflection of the work that you have done IN me. And, Lord, please heal my heart from the wounds of others. Thank you for being a Great Comforter. In Jesus’ name, amen.
This post was written by Kendra Grubinski. Kendra is passionate about her relationship with Jesus and loves studying and sharing God’s Word. During the week, she is a Spanish Teacher at Findlay High School. She also enjoys spending time with her family and pups, reading, traveling, drinking good coffee and being active outdoors.
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