My Words
By Shari Braendel

“The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.” Proverbs 15:2 (NIV)

My eyes filled with tears when I heard the news. I found out I offended someone. I mean, really offended her. My words hurt her so deeply, she cried all night. A few weeks earlier, I had met this woman and in our brief conversation, I said something she could not forget or get over. I thought it was innocent conversation – I never meant to hurt her – but she was upset.

For several days, I thought about what I had said and how I had spoken to this woman. I wrestled with what I should have or could have done differently. I replayed the conversation over and over. I couldn’t undo what I had said or how I said it. I couldn’t explain it away or give a dozen excuses. I couldn’t cover it over with my own tears, guilt or shame. It was “out there” and there wasn’t much I could do to take it back. After a time of prayer and reflection, I was able to locate the woman’s address. I wrote her a note of apology and mailed it.

I wonder how many times my words offend? How many times during a day do my words hurt someone? I am called to edify others, lift others up, and encourage others in all things. I try to encourage my husband, my children and my friends. I try to encourage women in their daily walk with Him. And then an “oops.” A big “oops” happens that rocks my world and someone else’s. A misspoken phrase or an inappropriate tone, and in an instant, someone feels struck down by my words.

I felt truly awful about hurting this person and I knew I needed to go to God. I shared all my thoughts, feelings, inadequacies, words, and regrets with the Lord. I gave it all to Him. I prayed for the woman and her pain. I prayed for forgiveness. I prayed for guidance and healing in this situation. I let God know I wanted my words to be wise and full of knowledge, rather than gush folly as today’s verse says.

God heard my prayers, forgave me, and even encouraged me a few days later as I stood in the foyer of my church. Someone I didn’t know approached me and asked me my name. She said, “I’ve been wanting to find you because a few months ago I contacted the church prayer team and requested a prayer for my husband’s job. You wrote me the most beautiful e-mail and included a prayer. It meant so much to me. I copied it word for word into my journal. I just wanted to thank you. Your prayer for me and my husband really touched me.” After she had gone, I whispered, “Thank you, God.” How awesome He is to remind me that my words have been messages of His hope and love, and not all folly.

What are your words saying to others?

Dear Lord, thank You for bringing us sweet reminders about Your care for us in every detail of our lives. I pray my words today will encourage others and spur them on in their quest to know You. Please help me to think before I speak. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Related Resources:
30 Days to Taming Your Tongue by Deborah Smith Pegues

30 Days to Taming Your Tongue Workbook by Deborah Smith Pegues

Visit Shari Braendel’s blog

Application Steps:
How have you been speaking to others? Are you lifting others up by encouraging them? Pay attention to your words today and the response of others. Ask God to help you think before you speak.

Reflections:
Recall a time when you were wounded with words. Have you asked God to heal it for you?

Have you wounded someone recently with your words, or your tone of voice? Write them a note of apology today and ask their forgiveness.

Power Verses:
Psalm 19:14, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (NIV)

2 Samuel 19:7, “Now go out and encourage your men.” (NIV)


5 Comments:

Unintentional hurts, yes who can count the time I've used my mouth in a way that has offended another. I'm usually quick to pick up on the signals and to confess.

But it is those "intentional" hurts...those ones I inflict because "apart from Christ...nothing good lives in me." I'm not always so quick to confess my sin. Instead, I am quick to find my justification, and the wound continues to weep. Those are the hard ones to make right, but the ones that, for me, bring me closer to holiness...

to right living and sacred walking.

I want the heart of Christ to flourish within this feeble frame. Therefore, I bend (after an ample time of stewing over the matter) as the Spirit leads.

Christ's goal for me? Bend quicker!

Thank you so much for sharing your heart!
peace~elaine

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your honesty! We're all in the same boat, tho' we might not admit it. I'm reminded of a time a few years back, when I lost my voice for 4 days! During that time, I was SO FRUSTRATED...yet God showed me how I really needed to evaluate the words I was saying. They began in my mind as thoughts & usually I would just say what popped in my head! THANK GOD that I could not say the first thing that popped into my mind!! He showed me how I would have hurt people had I just spoke out. I began to realize the truth that I needed to slow down & think about what I was about to say. I was amazed at what I experienced. Even now, if I begin to let the spigot flow too much, God is quick to remind me about the laryngitis time and to be careful with my words. I'm not always successful, but much better than before. PRAISE GOD FOR HIS FORGIVENESS & FOR OTHERS WHO ALSO FORGIVE US.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am trying to learn to use my quiet voice (not speaking when I would normally would). Even written words can hurt. This is really hard. I have a 16 year old and a combative ex-husband..... I love my son, and am trying my best to do what is right, but controlling the words when they wear on your nerves.... All I can do is pray.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm amazed sometimes at how God works. Just last night I prayed to God and asked for forgiveness for apparently hurting a family member. I did not directly say anything to her, but because of the words I said to another it obviously has hurt her. I've stuggled for days/weeks now with this. Unsure of how to handle it. I've apologized to the one I had a disagreement with, but wasn't sure how to handle the other situation since it was never directed to my other family member. I don't like knowing that I've hurt someone else's feelings. This devotion was exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you so much for your words and encouragment. I hope I wrote this clear! Thank you for your devotion!

Anonymous Tracey said...

I too must say thank you, and wow God works in wondrous ways. Reading this post was like reading a journal entry of my day today. My eyes filled with tears today when I realized how my words had deeply hurt a friend when I had no intentions of hurting her. Yesterday I was starting to realize I might have hurt her, but today my eyes were really opened to my wrongdoing and I felt absolutely terrible about it. I felt like a fool. After beating myself up some, I prayed to God for fogiveness for me and for healing for her. I wrote her an apology and then confessed my wrongdoing to a dear Christian friend who listened, said yes indeed I had messed up, but that my heart was in the right place and that I needed to accept God's forgiveness. I was then able to share a positive word with her and feel good about doing that. Afterwards I decided to catch up on my devotional readings and that's when I read this entry that you posted yesterday. God's timing is amazing! Thank you for using your gifts to share God's message.

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