It’s no surprise that our hearts are hurting. Current events in the world and recent social and political turmoil in America have left many feeling confused, angry, and brokenhearted. It seems everywhere we turn there is criticism, argument, and overwhelming fear or negativity. And it spreads like a virus, going straight to the heart, weakening who we are as individuals and as a nation. We need healing.
But with such pain and frustration, it seems easier to join your preferred bandwagon rather than be the lone voice of faith, hope, or love, especially when many are now hardened and cynical, doubting that ANY of those things even exist anymore.
But what if I told you it is much easier than you would think…to change the course of conversation and bring about health and healing?
James, author of the New Testament book, said that the tongue “is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell” (James 3:6). You have probably felt singed by this fire countless times in your life…criticism, gossip, betrayal, lying, accusations, generally any time someone’s words have been harmful to you. That is why the writer of Proverbs said, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Prov 12:18).
Yes, words can be used to either injure and destroy, or instruct and heal- all at a heart-level!
Most of us don’t realize what our words reveal about our hearts…Jesus, speaking his followers one day told them, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” Another translation puts it this way, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
Whatever is in our hearts, whatever it is filled with, flows out through our mouths. If it’s love, grace, hope, and gratitude, that overflows into our conversations. If it is discontent, anger, bitterness, and judgment, that too, overflows into our conversations. Our words reveal what the heart conceals.
I know there are times when difficult conversations must be had, especially with loved ones over issues that are not opinion-based, but rather truth-based, like in matters of sin and behaviors that are harmful to those we care about. I have written about speaking the truth in love as painful as it is here.
But when the conversation is of matters influenced by our education, understanding, personal experience, or perspectives, we need to weigh our words carefully. Debates about politics, social issues, and religion are the very ones that are breaking the hearts of many people today. In order to start the healing process, we need to put our words through a few filters before we share them!
3 Scriptural filters for our OWN words to help determine if they will promote harm or healing:
1. Am I seeking to better understand others or am I only interested in sharing my opinion? “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions” (Prov 18:2).
2. Is my response helpful in diffusing tension or will it only stir up more anger? “A gentle anger turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly” (Prov 15:1-2). This passage does not suggest that we suppress the truth for the wise value and promote truth, but the one who is harsh in his response stirs up more anger rather than diffusing it and exposes his own foolishness.
3. Will my words bring health and life to others in any way? “The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of wisdom” (Prov 10:21). We are starving as individuals and as a nation for good, nourishing words that will bring life and health as opposed to destruction and decay!
Today, we need more conversations filled with words of faith, forgiveness, hope, grace, and love. The power of THESE words are strengthening and healing and serve to nourish countless others. That’s how we can begin the work of healing our broken hearts!