I once heard a radio preacher say that the most ferocious monster in the world has his den just behind the teeth.
We have all been victims of vicious words at some point in our lives. Tragically, a person who loves us is often the one who injures us the most. Many cruel statements are made from anger or frustration that has nothing to do with the person who receives the verbal lashing. The receiver of the outburst is like a lightning rod defusing unresolved issues.
What we say is a reflection of what is in our hearts and minds.
If we live with hearts filled with anger, unforgiveness, or resentment, our speech is colored by these feelings. Hearts are broken, marriages destroyed, children crushed, and friendships ended because of brutal and thoughtless words.
Destructive communication must be eliminated from our lives for our Christian walk, the welfare of our families, and for our peace of mind and health. It is difficult and painful to address the issues, but it is the only way for our relationship with the Lord to be open and our words to be pleasing to Him. He wants to help us face our problems and bring healing to our hearts.
Thoughtless statements may not be vicious, but can still injure someone.
It is easy to speak lovingly when our children obey our direction without complaining, and we feel a sense of satisfaction with our child-rearing methods. Our spouse agrees with our decision, and we feel so in tune. However, when our child disobeys, or when our spouse criticizes us, are we able to confront them with love? Are we able to state how we feel without attacking the person? Do we go for the jugular, or do we stop and remember that words can wound deeply? The effect of our words can cause a life to wilt or to flourish.
"There's no use trying to talk with him. He never listens to me."
"I don't want to talk about it. Just leave me alone."
"I don't want to hear another word."
These statements are common in families, but it's hurtful to the person being told that what they have to say is not worth your time or interest. We have all been guilty of saying some of these things as well as having them said to us. We all need to learn from our Lord, that speaking in a manner that is pleasing to Him will bless those whom we love. Let us not turn them away wounded by our thoughtless words.
Many books are available explaining the good communication skills we need to develop and maintain solid relationships. The Bible tells us what type of communication is pleasing to the Lord, and its Book of Proverbs is a gold mine of instruction.
It is wise to take a critical view of how we are interacting, and measure it against what Scripture says. In Proverbs 15:24 (NIV), we are told, "A man finds joy in giving an apt reply--and how good is a timely word!" The Lord has given each of us the choice to use our tongue to destroy or to bring blessing to those around us.