Watch Those Words

by | Apr 29, 2018 | Words

Proverbs 26:24 “People with hate in their hearts may sound pleasant enough, but don’t believe them.” (NLT)

“I hate you,” he said, then walked away. She couldn’t believe her son had uttered such a scathing phrase.

Any parent who’s experienced a rebellious teenager has probably heard the expression. Even if they haven’t verbally it was probably mumbled silently. It usually explodes when a restriction has been imposed. Never mind that it was their behavior that led to the punishment.

I can’t recall making the statement to my parents but I do remember thinking it. I would break a rule-and my infringements were quite lengthy, Mom would usually leave the punishment to Dad, and he would send me for a haircut. It was the seventies and the hippie movement hadn’t completely disappeared. He wasn’t excited about my long hair since he had a preacher reputation to maintain. After all, the Bible did teach long hair was shameful for a man. So I would get a haircut and mutter “I hate you” under my breath. Of course, I never actually hated my parents. I simply hated them telling me what to do.

Looking back, I’m thankful I only thought the hate. Words express what’s in the heart but words spoken cannot be retracted. Once something is said it’s out. It enters the ear of the hearer and is processed in their mind. Once there, it is frequently replayed, transferring it to our long term memory and making it permanent.

The admonition to “watch what you say” is admirable. Others may forgive us for hurting them with our words but it will be extremely difficult if not impossible for them to forget what we said. And some won’t forgive which means we-through our words, have led them into a state of unforgiveness that will have detrimental consequences.

Since words result from what’s on the inside, we have to begin by washing our heart rather than our mouth. God’s grace and forgiveness cleans the first which in turn scrubs the second. Then we can encourage the discouraged, show kindness to the angry, and exhibit friendliness to our enemies.

Prayer: May the words of our mouth and the meditation of our heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord our God.

Martin Wiles

Harleyville, South Carolina, USA


Watch Those Words