Proverbs 15: Guard Your Tongues
“The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.”
Proverbs 15:4 NIV
Our words have consequences. They can be life giving or they can be destructive. Either way, our words carry weight and influence, and we need to be mindful as we interact with others as husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, uncles, friends, colleagues, etc. A few months ago during a heated discussion (argument) with my wife, I said something that rocked her to the core. I used my words to attack her character, her values, and her integrity. I did not point out something she did. I questioned the essence of who she is.
In doing so, I made her question my love for her and my commitment to our marriage. In that moment, I took away the comfort and confidence that she had in our relationship. My words stirred up old insecurities she had about herself. I’m supposed to love her the way Christ loves the church. Yet, I approached her from a place of judgment and not one of love and grace.
I told my wife that I thought she was a horrible person
. I did not/do not mean it. I could say I was being defensive, had a bruised ego, or whatever lame excuse I can think of. It doesn’t matter because I crossed the line, and I doubled down when she asked me if I really meant it. Of course I did not mean it, but I was set on winning the argument, so I repeated those words to her. may have won that argument, but I’ve lost so much more.
I said that several months ago, and I cannot tell you how many times she has brought that up to me. My words created doubt. Over the last few months, she has asked me repeatedly, “How can I love someone who I think is a horrible person?” I’ve made the love of my life question my love for her because of something I said to win an argument. My words have made my wife question her character. She has said to me, “If her husband who loves her unconditionally thinks I’m a horrible person, then maybe I am.” That one is a gut punch. I’m working everyday to let her know how wonderful she is; however, in the back of her mind, the negative thoughts linger. She’s not sure if I really mean the positive things I say.
Today’s Training: Be careful with your words; they carry great power. Use them to build up the people around you, not tear them down. When you are in a heated moment, ask God to intervene so that you do not say something perverse and crush the other person’s spirit.