When Words Hurt
Take a moment of silence and listen. Can you hear it? Muffled stern tones of a feint memory. Your mother scolding you saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!”
Now as kids, words just spill out no matter the good or bad intent behind them. It can be SO incredibly difficult to control your thoughts and have nice words to say to those to are lashing out against you. When someone hurts you, it is our human nature to automatically want to find some way to match the pain they have caused us! But that is not what God has called us to do. In Matthew 5:38-40 (ESV) He tells us, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.”
What a reverse mentality to what our culture says: retaliation. We want to get revenge. We want to get back at everyone for all of the hurtful things that have ever been said. Baptist minister and civil rights activist, Martin Luther King, Jr said, “Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.” Christians are called to love. Our reaction to hurtful words should love, not revenge. It is the unexpected response. We can’t control what other people say or do to us. The only thing we can control is our reaction.
Words are a tricky thing. They can be uplifting. They can be downgrading. They can be hurtful. And at the end of the day, words can hurt you, body, mind and soul. Words can leave you breathless and words can leave you stunned. They are easy to say, but impossible to fully take back. You can try and put band-aids on the open wounds, covering them with kinder words, but that never seems to take away the initial sting. No one likes being talked down to and degraded, yet, it happens to everyone.
Pastor and founder of Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll said, “When others are expecting retaliation, offer grace instead. It’ll blow their mind and bless their soul.” Imagine a world like this. An entire world full of Jesus. An entire world where grace was imparted from everyone, to everyone. Because of the Fall of Man, on earth this perfect world is not possible. When words hurt, remember the great lengths Jesus went to in order to save you from your sin. The World spit on, swore at, and disgraced the name of Jesus. He is the only one who perfectly imparts grace and in spite of everything we say and do to Him, His grace still abound!