Reckless Words
By Susanne Scheppmann

“A soothing tongue is a tree of life, But perversion in it crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:4 (NASB)

“My daughter-in-law is a heathen dog!” stated the woman. She went on for fifteen minutes, berating her son’s wife.

I was standing in the church foyer with a group of women listening to her tirade. This woman had been a Christian for decades. We had all been in Bible study with her over the years. We had watched her sing in the choir. Now we watched in shock as harsh condemnation spilled from her lips against her own family.

She seethed with anger and accusations. Her tongue slashed the reputation of her daughter-in-law. The group stood in silence—we didn’t know the girl. The girl had never come to our church. Perhaps, if this woman had allowed her tongue to follow the advice of Proverbs 12:18, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing,” this girl might be attending church with her. Instead, she came by herself each week.

With sadness, I stepped away from the circle of women. This brief encounter affected me for the rest of the day. I hurt for the unknown daughter-in-law. I ached for the woman so full of venom that it spewed out uncontrolled.

However, it reminded me to keep watch on my own attitudes and words. I desire for my tongue to be a soothing tree of life. I am going to challenge myself to keep a tight rein on my wayward words. Would you like to join the challenge with me?

Dear Lord, forgive the reckless, hurting words I speak. Teach me the words to encourage others. Allow my speech, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to be a healing balm to those who have been hurt. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Susanne Schepmann’s blog

Perplexing Proverbs for Women Bible study by Susanne Scheppman

30 Days to Taming Your Tongue by Deborah Smith Pegues

Application Steps:
In today’s conversations, make it a point to speak kindly about people. In addition, determine to compliment three people whose paths you cross.

Do I think before I speak?

When do I usually speak in a negative manner?

How can my words bring healing to others?

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

Proverbs 17:28, “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.” (NIV)

James 1:26, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.” (NIV)


Blogger eph2810 said...

So true Susanne. Sometimes we say things that might be not very up-lifting to others. So we should be always conscience about that comes our of mouth.
I pray that the Lord may soften the heart of the lady.
Thank you for sharing your powerful devotion...

Blogger Rain said...

I was listening to this sermon and asked God to help me fix a "foot in mouth" situation I had today with my husband and God used your message. I just asked Him to help and i got on the devotions and there it was. Proverbs 12:18. I'm thankful.Doen't it feel great to know you're being used forHis kingdom?

Blogger Krista said...

Thank you for this post. It helped me to overcome a situation that I've been going through.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given the topic of this devotion as "reckless words" it makes it very difficult for me to leave this comment. as i try to figure out how to write this with out using reckless words to hurt and wound the writer. it is not directed at her personally, it is the situation that leaves me wanting to say a few reckless words myself.
having been in a similiar situation where i was the heathen dog being ranted about publicly in a church foyer after a sunday sermon.

i am curious to know why you all just stood there and listened to her and did not rebuke her? whether you knew the girl or not is not at issue here.
"she had been a christian for decades?? you had been in bible study with her over the years?"
and yet you all stood there and did and said nothing.

to me you all missed the boat in what we are called upon to do as christians when we see our brothers and sisters in the lord,doing something that is considered a sin.

i would never come to that church either if my mother in law spoke so openly and hostile about me, and not one person stopped her.

i sincerely hope that the poor daughter in law in question never darkens the door of her mother in laws church but instead finds one that teaches and follows the word of god and does not judge people publicly and openly in a church foyer, with out a single word of rebuke for the apparent "christian for decades"

further more i sincerely hope that the mother in law in question is convicted in her heart, mind and soul and seeks forgiveness from jesus, and her daughter in law. it is situations like this that end up giving christianity and "religion" a bad name amongst the heathen dogs. what kind of a witness is this woman in this world

Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry the heathen dogs at the end should have been "heathen dogs" as i dont not personally class anyone as a heathen dog regardless of what they did or did not do.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do agree, as I read this, that someone should have made the effort to "speak the truth in love" to this woman in sin.

I'm the first to admit that I would probably have failed to do it, so I'm not pointing any fingers, but ladies, we've got to be willing to be vulnerable, authentic, and real with one another. We're never going to grow deeper in Christ if we don't submit ourselves to the accountability of others and in turn, hold them accountable as well.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was so glad to read the comment about our responsibility as Christians to rebuke the scornful woman in love. I, too, believe that she was committing a sin. However, I also believe that every single Christian listening to her was also committing a sin - of omission (meaning a failure to act upon the obvious commands of God). It is our responsibility to make sure that the body is functioning properly and when we see a festering wound, we do not ignore it simply because the finger doesn't know it's festering. We lovingly and tenderly clean out the junk and infection and bandage it so it can heal. Our tongues do have great power, we use them wrongly when we speak harsh, cruel and unkind words. We also use them wrongly when we fail to use the words God would have us use.

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