IN MOMENTS OF PAIN – PART FOUR
When Words Poison
“Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:4
The Tameless Tongue
The tongue is one of the smallest member of our body, but it is also the wildest. The Bible clearly says that out of the tongue can either flow fresh or salty water (James 3:10-12). You cannot speak good of someone at one moment and speak evil at the next. That is hypocrisy!
The tongue can be used to build up and exhort people; and on the other hand, it can also be used to crush a spirit. It can be used to bring life, and it can also be used to destroy. James calls the tongue a ‘fire which sets a forest aflame with a small spark’, ‘a world of evil among the parts of the body’, ‘a restless evil, full of deadly poison’.
It was by words that came forth from a tongue that the world was created; it was by the tongue that the sick were healed and the dead were raised. It is through the tongue that brings hope and encouragement; it is the tongue that brings forth prophecies. And yet, it is also the tongue that kills and destroys.
Unfortunately, many people, even Christians have misused the tongue that God has given to us. Instead of using to bring life, we bring death. Instead of using our tongue to build up, exhort and encourage, we crush people’s spirits.
Here are some of the most painful destructions a tongue can do:
All of us have, at some points in our lives, heard negative and degrading remarks spoken over us. These remarks can be painful especially if they are spoken by the people of authority over us, such as our parents, elder siblings, teachers, spiritual leaders, or best friends. If these words are spoken continuously, they can have the ability to mould and shape our lives.
Many of us have a distorted image of who we are because of what has been spoken against us. Over time, we begin to believe the things that people say about us, even though we know that they are not true.
I have heard many cutting remarks, and sadly, most of them were spoken by the people in authority over my life. I can therefore identify the pain and destruction such words can bring.
“As surely as a north wind brings rain, so a gossiping tongue causes anger!” Proverbs 25:23
Ever known someone who is so foul-mouthed that each time she talks, it would be about somebody’s business? They dig into other people’s affairs, and spread whatever little that they know to the whole world. It does not matter if what they say is true or not; so long as it is about other people, it is their business to spread it. They do not bother if what they say will hurt the person involved, they do it so long as it satisfies their itch. They do not care if their listeners will want to hear about their gossips, or if they are spreading truths. They take joy in gossiping, so long as the gossips are not about themselves.
Oh, we love to gossip, don’t we? At some points in our lives we have all fallen into the trap of gossip. And though I am not totally against occasional ‘unintended’ gossips even though they must not be tolerated either, habitual gossipers can actually bring far more damage than you can ever imagined!
Even if what you gossip about is true, bear in mind that it is still not your responsibility to spread it around to others. God is the only one who will deal with each person, and you do not have to ‘help’ God by spreading it beforehand.
When we hear of the gossips that were spread about ourselves, it can bring a lot of damage. What was initially spread may be so innocent but the innocence can be marred with a twist of the story. Before long, we are hearing a totally different version of the same story!
Truth is, we can never control other people’s tongue. They are responsible for the gossips that they spread, but we are also responsible to hold our heads up high in the face of false malicious gossips or rumours. Remember that vengeance is God’s, and it will only take time for Him to reveal the truth.
Back-stabbing is appearing friendly on the outside, but stabbing you from behind. It can happen with someone being totally nice with you just to get some information to be used to stab at you. Back-stabbing is, in fact, a blend of betrayal and gossiping.
Therefore, backstabbing can actually be very painful. One stab in the back can be all it takes to destroy a person’s spirit. The sting from the wound can stay there for such a long time.
I do not want to go through this topic a lot because it is a complete blend of gossiping and betrayal. Add those two up and you will get back-stabbing.
Not too long ago, I had been backstabbed, gossiped about falsely, and shot with degrading remarks all at one go. It has been very, very painful and the healing process is slow. It was even harder for me when some of the people involved were people of authority. There were many times when I had wanted to give up, and I can truly say that it is by the grace of God that I had made it through.
How To Tackle It
Like I have said earlier, we cannot control other people’s tongue. And sometimes these wounds can come so suddenly that we are left in shock. In times like these, we must always remember the power of forgiveness. Forgiveness can never be easy, and healing can be quite a tiring process.
Also, it is also wise to maintain a distance from the people who have gossiped and back-stabbed us. This is simply to allow ourselves time and space to heal, without peeling off the 'scab' before healing is complete; and at the same time, prevent ourselves from being hurt the same way during this time. When you are over with it, then you can open up your heart to those people again.