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Reckless Words
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“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.” We have all heard this nursery rhyme on the playground, but is it true? While this retort may help a child stay calm in the face of bullying, we all know from experience that words definitely can hurt us. In fact, the writer of Proverbs has much to say about the power of words.

Proverbs 12:18 says, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Our words can hurt; our words can heal. Angry words can be particularly damaging, especially when directed toward those we love.

Families all have patterns of managing conflict. There are those who give each other the silent treatment when angry. Some families do a lot of yelling when in conflict. Sometimes one family member does all the exploding while the others go into hiding to stay out of the way. How do you handle anger? What is your family’s style of doing conflict?

Anger is a double-edge sword. It can empower a person to overcome fear and be able to confront people. The adrenaline rush that comes with anger may give a feeling of power and control. It can give a sense of having the upper hand in a situation.

Damage Inflicted

But the other side of anger is the damage inflicted by the words that are said and how they are said when a person is out of control. The reckless words that pierce like a sword can fatally wound those I love. I may get my way but the people I love will distance themselves from me out of fear. So I win the battle, but lose the war.

Relationships based on fear, manipulation and power are unhealthy at best, and abusive at worst. The wounds inflicted and the emotional scar tissue that builds up over time makes it very difficult to have authentic, healthy relationships. Distrust builds. Stress takes a toll on families relationally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Ephesians 4:29-32 is the antidote to reckless words. Paul tells us to speak only words that will be helpful and will build people up. “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31, 32)

If you know your weapon of choice is anger and you can see how your words wound those you love, God wants to help you. See your anger for what it is: a weapon of mass destruction. Ask God and your family to forgive you for your misuse of anger. Ask Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit so you can change. You and your family may also need help in healing from your wounds, so don’t be afraid to go see a Christian counselor.

Ask God for the tongue of the wise that brings healing. He will help you! 

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By Nancy Gerard. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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