Thanks so much for joining me for Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power and more of this third sacrifice in the Seven Sacrifices to Joy! Communication is what makes or breaks a bridge! Grab your coffee and your strand of faith and let’s go tie some more knots in our ongoing conversation about communication!
How is it that we can hold our tongues, be slower to speech, step back before we jump forward with our words? There is a truth that I know has been very helpful to me in this constant trial of speaking words that build up instead of tear down: Out of the abundance of the heart, a man/woman speaks! (Luke 6:45b) See, what is in our heart will come out of our mouths.
Oh, I can’t even begin to tell you how many times that something has escaped from my mouth like a robber quickly taking off with his sought-after loot only to be hit in the face with a picture of my heart!
Then I am left with the gentle conviction as my words are left exposed, as if engraved in the sand after the tide rolls away. They are there for me to stare at, their tone not hidden in the grains of sand, rather echoing back over the sound of the wave, convicting me, moving me to seek forgiveness from Him first, and then go to the one who is still stunned by the stink that my words have left in their being.
I know there is no condemnation for I am His, and yet I struggle with this question, and maybe you do too: Why does this seem to be an ongoing struggle? I mean when I started blogging four and a half years ago, one of my first blogs I wrote was about mouthing off to my husband! Does this mean I haven’t grown in this area? Ugh! Can you hear me groan?
The answer I keep hearing is: keep the heart clean. See, the heart is like the closet of the house; everything gets stored in there, but little gets cleaned out of there! If there is even a tiny bit of dust in the heart with somebody’s name on it, then out of the mouth will come that dirt. The cleaner the heart, the cleaner our words!
Whenever there is a tiny hint of resentment, any little piece of unresolved conflict, it will be the aroma that comes out with any form of communication creating more tension, and a wall inhibiting integrity. When someone steps on our emotional toe, why is it that we can’t say ouch out loud …without trying to hurt the one who hurt us? When will we realize that a hurt + a hurt = a double-hurt? Oh, don’t we need this consistent reminder? I know I do! The good news: there is forgiveness and with a truly repentant heart comes change, and grace, like a wave coming back in to wash the shadow of the pain caused by the hurtful words until we can feel the sting no more.
But how about those who don’t know how to say ouch, so they keep it in for fear of how the other will take it? In other words, they anticipate the response, assume how they will respond and so the hammer comes down again, sealing in bitterness and resentment.
Again, I hear the clean heart analogy. If we say “ouch” with a motive to hurt and tear down, or to repay evil for evil, more likely than not, the fire will grow higher and higher and the wound deeper, but if our motive is to restore, repair, then the rest is up to the other person, whom you cannot control! We must not hold back an apology based on what we think they might say, or even because we feel they wronged us first. Remember, when we get there, He’s going to talk to us about how we responded to the step on the emotional foot. Others’ hurtful behavior isn’t a free pass to misbehave.
See, God knew we’d have conflict; that’s why He spoke through Paul in Romans 12:18, for as much as is possible with you, live peaceably with others. You do your part; He’ll take care of them. Go ahead and put your name in that verse: for as much as is possible with _________, live peaceably with __________. Who do you need help communicating with today? Claim this verse over U for without the U, there is no “Us”!
Oh, that I would be so slow to speak, that my words would lift up and not tear down …