“Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk ever come out of your mouth but only such speech as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace God’s favor to those who hear it.” Ephesians 4:29
“Understand this my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear a ready listener, slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry.” James 1:19
I was convicted as I read my daily devotional in Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. I am not the kindest person to talk to, I have my opinions and I am quick to spout them out even when they are not needed. Using my voice is important to me, but I also want to be the type of person that encourages people and not make them feel like a failure or worthless. I know I don’t always listen like I should. I often times can be confrontational and I can be cruel with my tongue.
As I have fought my illness the beast in me has had to come out and defend myself, but when she comes out I don’t always leash her back in. I don’t want to be cruel. I don’t want to belittle. I don’t want to cause harm to anyone who is having a bad day or who needs support. Support is important. I know this from my own life experiences, so why is it hard for me to listen and be comforting?
Part of it is I was taught not to listen or to be comforting to others. Think about it, when I needed someone to talk to or just listen it rarely happens. People have their own agendas, they only want to be comforted not be a comforter. I am no exception. Jesus and Paul illustrate in these two verses to me that criticizing yourself and others is not of any value to relationship. In fact, it hinders the relationship. If someone thinks you are going to jump them every time they offer some part of themselves through their voice then how likely are they going to speak to you? Not very likely.
If I want someone to listen and comfort me then I must be willing to do the same thing for others. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Then why is it so hard to do? The reason it is so hard for me to do is the fact that I often times don’t feel heard. I feel brushed aside, only used when someone wants or needs something and so in order for me to contradict those feelings I become braise, critical, and overbearing in my speech. There are instances where these behaviors are needed, but not everyone needs to know my opinion or thoughts. I don’t need to hit people in the head with my sword and hurt them. My heart’s desire is to encourage not deflate someone. It is time for me to re-evaluate my voice and how I use it. The voice is a powerful weapon, we don’t like to think so, but words hurt deeply and are harder to heal than being beaten. I know this from my own experiences and I don’t want to be an abuser just like I don’t want to be the victim. A lot to contemplate as I take each stepping stone towards a better understanding of my journey.