When Words Hurt by Candice Reyes
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As a kindergarten teacher, I would often stand amazed at the words that came out of my mouth. Things like, "Save your kisses for your momma," or "Your tongue does not belong on [so-and-so's] shoe." Clearly, self-control is hard when we're five years old.
But, you know what, it's hard when we're 15 and 25, 40 and 85, too. One area which needs our utmost attention is the same one my kindergarteners were practicing... our tongues. Not because we're tasting our neighbor's shoe (I sure hope not at least!) but because scripture tells us our tongues hold the power of life and death.
But, even if we don't believe the Bible, we see this is true. I think sometimes though we downplay it. We hear this and it's easy to think, "Sure, I can make someone's day better or worse with my words. Got it."
But, it's so much deeper than this. The writer of this proverb was not exaggerating when they wrote "life and death." We have the power to give birth and create and we have the power to kill and destroy - with the same tool, our tongue. Jesus modeled this for us. In Genesis, He spoke creation into being. In the New Testament, a tree withered at His command. Truly, it is throughout scripture and it is happening throughout our daily lives.
Today, I'm honored to introduce you to a friend of mine, Candice Reyes. She is sharing her reflection of Psalm 120 with us and helping us discover how we can respond when words hurt us. It's not easy. But, thankfully we have the Holy Spirit to help us in this.
Candice R. Reyes is a speaker, podcast host, Award-Winning Author, Basic Self-Defense Instructor, and Founder/Executive Director of Hooks2Crook Ministries. As a 2x survivor of sexual assault, Candice understands the importance of overcoming the fear of the past and walking with Jesus through recovery. Candice coaches women through the victim-to-survivor process, helping them:
Reclaim their hope
Regain their voice
Resist their urge to isolate
Candice knows true healing can only begin when we spend time with the GREAT Healer. Find out more about Candice R. Reyes and her story when you visit Hooks2Crook.com or follow her on IG @candicerreyes.
Have you ever had your character threatened by the lies of another? I have. People can be harsh with their tongues and not even realize the pain they inflict. I sat still in my chair, as whom I thought were close friends tag-teamed me by speaking hurtful words about my character because I chose to go another direction. Their comments caused me to question my own nature.
Silently I sat as their words stirred up my thoughts. Am I as bad as they claim? Could my action truly be the only reason for their high-level stress? With everything in me, I wanted to priest and defend myself. However, I sensed an urge to “be still.”
Past hurts, feelings of abandonment, and fear drove their lashings. Anything I would say would be seen as hostile.
An old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is a lie. Our tongue has the power to strike down the flesh and wound the soul. Words can sneak into our thoughts, creating a narrative that drives our ambition or, worse, our lack of ambition.
However, Paul reminds us in Philippians to take every thought captive. We have the authority over what fuels our thoughts.
I call on the LORD in my distress, and he answers me. Save me, LORD, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues. - Psalm 120
The hope in this passage is King David, the author of Psalm 120, cries out to the LORD in his anxiety, pain, and sorrow. And God answers him. God remained true to his character and responded to David’s cry. David continues,
He will punish you with a warrior’s sharp arrows, with burning coals of the broom bush. - Psalm 120
The HE in this statement is God. God is David’s protector. And He is our protector too. When we surrender to God, we can rub others wrong by laying down our dreams, hopes, and desires to exchange them for His will. Most of the time, people closest to you don’t always get it, and they may speak out against you. Those are the words that wound the most. Jesus warns us,
"You will be hated by all for my name's sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance, you will gain your lives.” - Luke 21:17-19
One of my favorite verses in Isaiah 43 states,
When I act, who can reverse it? - Isaiah 43
Friend, when God acts, who can stop Him? No one! So, when others challenge your character because God has done something new in you, keep the faith.
There is a song by Kim-Walker Smith called Protector and the lyrics state:
I come out of agreement With the lie that You have left me on my own I am not alone I come out of agreement With the worry and the fear I've come to know No, they won't have a hold on me Protector You never, never, never let me go You said You wouldn't leave me, and You won't You're right by my side Protector
Friend, it’s time we come out of agreement with the lies of negative nay sayers and seek our Protector. Words can hurt, but His truth heals. God will fight for us, and His truth will be our shield. Keep His pace and step out in faith.
Now, It's Your Turn!
Before opening God's Word, take a moment to pray and ask God to meet you there. Then...
Read Psalm 120 a couple times. Highlight what stands out to you.
Circle verbs or specific wording you notice.
Then, write down a bullet point takeaway based on this. "I-statements" help make this personal. Think of this as a challenge statement.
When others hurt me with their words, I will choose to first "be still" before the Lord and let Him guide my response.
Then, jot down a question or two to think about today. You don't have to have the answer to this question now. And yield to the Holy Spirit - prayerfully ask God to search your heart and lead you to more truth and grow your faith through the Holy Spirit.
How have the words of others' affected me this week? How might my own words affected others this week? Are there any wrongs I have made with my tongue which I need to confess and reconcile? How can I use my words to be a voice of hope and a message of love to others?
Again, we don't have to be Bible scholars and talk only in the thou's and art's of King James version to read this book. ...because when we pray before we read, we are not alone. The Holy Spirit is with us, guiding and teaching us.
Praise God for this!
And praise God for refreshment as we are intentional to spend a summer in the Psalms together, for if we want His truth to ever be on our lips, it must first be planted in our hearts.
Our strength grows as we rely on strength from above. Our joy grows as we see God transforming us from the inside out. Our peace grows as we spend time in God's presence, and we find rest when we intentionally seek the Lord first in our lives, for the Lord is ever our portion.
The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.
I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!
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