There isn’t a single human alive who will leave this world unscathed by harsh words hurled at us by others.
And as I’ve watched some pretty hurtful things play out on the internet recently, I’ve been asking God how we process the yuck we humans seem so capable of dishing out to one another. Where I felt led to the other morning was Ephesians 4:29: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
That word “corrupting” means “rotten, worthless, bad.” It is a word that conjures up images of spoiled food. And while this passage of Scripture reminds us not to SPEAK these kinds of words, I also sensed a reminder not to INGEST these kinds of words.
People say we are what we eat. Scripture tells us that as a man thinks, so is he. So, why aren’t we more careful about the words we chew on? Why do we allow ourselves to spend so much time nursing and rehearsing the words that have wounded us?
So here is where I’m landing this morning with hurtful words in my own life:
1. I need to spit out what we know is rotten.
If something tastes rotten when it comes to actual food, we spit it out. We don’t choke it down, nor do we go back for seconds or thirds. So, why are we feasting on the same old wounding words that keep making us sicker and sicker? Just because someone dishes those words out, that doesn’t mean we need to take them in.
2. I need to chew on Scripture.
God’s Word tells us that it’s milk, it’s meat, it’s daily bread for our souls. It is life-giving and true. If we aren’t sure if there is truth in what someone else has said… if their words taste “off” but we aren’t sure if they actually are “off”, we can turn to Scripture. It’s where we find wisdom, nourishment, hope, and, yes, even correction and redirection when we need it. Words that show up both “comfort food” and “vegetables” we may not be crazy about. All needing to be chewed on equally.
3. I need to sit with wise people.
When wounding or confusing words have come our way, we would be wise to sit with the wise. To ask them to help us see things more clearly. To help us sift through what needs to be thrown out and what we may actually need to learn from. To keep us humble, teachable, and growing.
We are the gatekeepers of our hearts and our minds. We are the ones who choose what we chew on.
Oh, that we would speak wisely and chew wisely, my friends.
So much love,