I was reminded recently of how quickly a conversation can turn.
One wrong word, one misinterpreted phrase, one negative assumption - all combine with lightning speed to create the perfect storm of anger and indignation.
It comes out of nowhere - one minute you’re smiling and laughing and enjoying the moment with your loved one and the next - BOOM! You’re feeling like you’ve been punched in the gut, laid out on the floor, wounded and bleeding, because of one thing interpreted the wrong way.
That’s the power of the tongue.
But that’s also the power of our pride.
And while I think the potential for a wounded heart is great when we consider how powerful our words can be - the Book of James has a lot to say about this - oftentimes, it’s our pride that causes the greatest hurt.
And why is that?
Maybe it’s because we spend too much time wrapped up in our own ideas of who we think we should be and not enough time resting in the truth of who God has created us to be.
A heart that’s easily wounded by a poorly phrased statement from a loved one, is a heart that’s not fully trusting in the reality that they are greatly loved by the Creator of the universe.
And it’s exactly what the Enemy wants us to believe.
He’s a master at driving a wedge right through the heart of our relationships. The Enemy knows that if he can cause us to doubt the love of those we hold dear, he can cause us to doubt the unconditional love of the Father for us.
For those of us whose identity is in Christ, that doubt chips away at our very foundation. The rock solid truth of the One in whom we’ve placed our faith.
When we doubt our faith, when we don’t trust His love for us, we are completely ineffective in sharing that love with others.
Which plays right into the Enemy’s hands.
So, what can we do to guard against the sneak attacks of our pride?
Well, a couple of things actually:
- We can remember to always give the benefit of the doubt. To trust that if you’re hearing from someone who loves you, that you have a relationship with, that their intent is to be loving - even if their words ring awkwardly wrong to our ears.
- We can read truth from God’s word. The Bible is full of reassurances that we are precious and greatly loved by God. The more we soak in those truths, the more we find our confidence in his love for us and we depend less and less on the opinions of the world. Resting our hearts in his truth helps us not misinterpret the words of others.
- We can pray. Actually, this is the BEST thing we can do. Before we spin out of control, before we get carried away by our harrumphs and our pride, we can ask God to step in and direct our thoughts, our hearts and our words. Because in truth, when God directs our conversations, we are most effective at living out his purpose and plan for us. To love him, and to love others. It’s that simple.