Series: The Road to Humility
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Ephesians 4:31 NLT
Her complaints told me more than her words ever did.
Ira was one of our church’s shut-ins—one, I admit, I didn’t enjoy visiting. I entered her home in a chipper mood yet always left depressed. I tried to cheer her up; I never succeeded.
Ira lived in a broken down home in need of repair. Her adult son lived with her, but never seemed to get around to fixing up some of the things that needed repair. He had held a job in years past, but for many years now had done nothing but hunted and farmed. He had a home across the road from Ira where he and his now ex-wife once lived. After the divorce, he moved in with Ira. They survived on her small Social Security check and what little he made from the farm.
Visiting with her meant listening to a list of complaints. Their life was hard, and she didn’t ever see it getting better. She wished her son would quit farming and go to work. Things around the house needed repairing. Their money never went far enough. Although I tried to encourage her, I failed ever time. I never heard anything positive come from her lips, and I never saw a smile. I wondered how it would be to live such a miserable life.
What Paul said to put away, Ira held onto: bitterness and anger. She saw no hope for the future, and hated the present.
Words have the ability to take others where we are. I didn’t want to go where Ira and her son were. When I talked to him, I discovered he was her carbon copy. They wallowed in despair. Life held no ray of sunshine. I didn’t want to live there with them. I continued visiting her, but refused to descend to her state of mind.
Words can also tell others where we are. Ira’s did. Hers reflected a lack of trust in God to care for her needs and dissatisfaction of His care for her. Mine can too, but they don’t have to.
Paul gives the cure for negative words in the next verse: “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).
Thank God daily with your words, and find words that encourage others rather than ones that bring them down.
Tweetable: Have you discovered the power of your words?
Prayer: Father, may the words of our mouths encourage, comfort, and lift others up.