Oh, to take back some of the sarcastic, judgmental words we have said in the past! Maybe you can relate. But it simply isn’t that easy. If we have slandered someone, repeated gossip, judged someone, or made cutting sarcastic comments, we need to recognize those words for what they are: sin that requires repentance.
Our gossip and judgments may do serious harm to people and their reputation. Even if they forgive us, the damage remains. Negative words—especially criticism, judgment, and gossip—also cause collateral damage. When others hear these damaging words, they’re influenced in a negative way. Negative words travel far and fast.
I know this from experience. I have been very sarcastic and critical at different times in my life. But when I fasted from words, I became sensitized to my words; as a result, I started to quickly repent of my sinful words when they came out.
Proverbs 12:18 tells us the words of the reckless pierce like swords but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Words are so powerful and yet are often used so recklessly. Our caustic words can resemble a person thrusting a razor-sharp, double-edged sword in the air and cutting people indiscriminately. Contrast this wholesale wounding of others to the tongue of a wise person, which brings healing. Healing words are gentle, encouraging, full of appropriate praise, and gracious, and they are spoken at just the right moment.
Let me encourage you to pray that the Lord would make you sensitive to those you may be harming with your words. As He brings any reckless words to your attention, ask Him to give you the strength and wisdom to seek forgiveness from those you’ve harmed with your words. And seek the same strength to forgive those who’ve harmed you with theirs.
Ask yourself, “Is there anyone I’ve offended with my words whose forgiveness I need to seek?” If any words come out of your mouth today that you need to repent of, do so. Ask the Holy Spirit to touch your heart and keep those words out of your mouth tomorrow.
Author: Tim Cameron
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