April 9, 2008
“The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.”
Proverbs 15:2 (NIV)
My eyes filled with tears when I heard the news. I found out I offended someone. I mean, really offended her. My words hurt her so deeply, she cried all night. A few weeks earlier, I had met this woman and in our brief conversation, I said something she could not forget or get over. I thought it was innocent conversation – I never meant to hurt her – but she was upset.
For several days, I thought about what I had said and how I had spoken to this woman. I wrestled with what I should have or could have done differently. I replayed the conversation over and over. I couldn’t undo what I had said or how I said it. I couldn’t explain it away or give a dozen excuses. I couldn’t cover it over with my own tears, guilt or shame. It was “out there” and there wasn’t much I could do to take it back. After a time of prayer and reflection, I was able to locate the woman’s address. I wrote her a note of apology and mailed it.
I wonder how many times my words offend? How many times during a day do my words hurt someone? I am called to edify others, lift others up, and encourage others in all things. I try to encourage my husband, my children and my friends. I try to encourage women in their daily walk with Him. And then an “oops.” A big “oops” happens that rocks my world and someone else’s. A misspoken phrase or an inappropriate tone, and in an instant, someone feels struck down by my words.
I felt truly awful about hurting this person and I knew I needed to go to God. I shared all my thoughts, feelings, inadequacies, words, and regrets with the Lord. I gave it all to Him. I prayed for the woman and her pain. I prayed for forgiveness. I prayed for guidance and healing in this situation. I let God know I wanted my words to be wise and full of knowledge, rather than gush folly as today’s verse says.
God heard my prayers, forgave me, and even encouraged me a few days later as I stood in the foyer of my church. Someone I didn’t know approached me and asked me my name. She said, “I’ve been wanting to find you because a few months ago I contacted the church prayer team and requested a prayer for my husband’s job. You wrote me the most beautiful e-mail and included a prayer. It meant so much to me. I copied it word for word into my journal. I just wanted to thank you. Your prayer for me and my husband really touched me.” After she had gone, I whispered, “Thank you, God.” How awesome He is to remind me that my words have been messages of His hope and love, and not all folly.
What are your words saying to others?
Dear Lord, thank You for bringing us sweet reminders about Your care for us in every detail of our lives. I pray my words today will encourage others and spur them on in their quest to know You. Please help me to think before I speak. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
30 Days to Taming Your Tongue by Deborah Smith Pegues
30 Days to Taming Your Tongue Workbook by Deborah Smith Pegues
Visit Shari Braendel’s blog
How have you been speaking to others? Are you lifting others up by encouraging them? Pay attention to your words today and the response of others. Ask God to help you think before you speak.
Recall a time when you were wounded with words. Have you asked God to heal it for you?
Have you wounded someone recently with your words, or your tone of voice? Write them a note of apology today and ask their forgiveness.
Psalm 19:14, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (NIV)
2 Samuel 19:7, “Now go out and encourage your men.” (NIV)
© 2008 by Shari Braendel. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Wednesday, 09 April 2008.