Too many Christians allow word wounds to become infected by ignoring Biblical instruction and wind up bitter and discouraged and have given more power to the words of another than they are due. You might be thinking, This is not easy! You’re right, but it is a lot harder when compounded by personal disobedience which hinders our ability to walk in the Spirit. I am not saying if you are really spiritual words won’t hurt, but I am saying as one filled with the Holy Spirit, doing the right thing when wronged will do more to maintain joy than any other tactic you may enlist. Our flesh wants to change the other person, our flesh wants justice and acknowledgement of wrongful and hurtful words said, our spirit longs for these things too but the only person we have control over when encountering friendly fire, is ourselves.
For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body – James 3:2
Remember, the Greek word translated as “perfect’ means; mature or complete and James goes on to say that the tongue, though small in size, can burn down a mighty forest and thus the exhortation that the ability to control the tongue is essential to self control over your whole being and body. We have all met and have been people who have exercised a “Ready, fire, aim” style of communication. We have all been that person and have said things that were hurtful and harmful, though at times, were unintentional. Our response to them when they come our way must never be a retaliatory strike of equal or greater insult or injury. When we begin to master this, hurtful words cannot own us and rule us and we have avoided the spread of infection through the rest of our body. Again, not easy, but it is effective. I know this, because I have done this and the reality was when I held my tongue when hit by friendly fire, what I came away with was a sense of accomplishment instead of a sense of failure. My focus was, I did it! Not, why didn’t I just keep quiet, why did I have to say that? My thoughts were deflected from the hurtful words and my mind was focused on the joy of being obedient. You might be thinking this sounds silly or even pointless and my answer to that is; I didn’t come up with the plan, I just followed it and, like all God’s plans, it works. What makes this a difficult practice is that it is our flesh’s nature to want to hurt those who hurt us, it’s a defense mechanism much like we would defend ourselves if the attack were physical and not verbal. Fight or flight are not the only two options when facing friendly fire. There is also do the right thing no matter how wrong the other person even as our flesh cries for justice, retaliation and self defense!
Excerpt from “Dancing With the Scars” now available on Amazon.