Words that Hurt

An issue that regularly pops into my email box surrounds people’s self esteem and how they’re struggling to cope when words hurt them. This is not an issue that is restricted to any particular age group and it happens in lots of different contexts.

It’s not just the hurtful words that people may fling at one another when they’re going through a relationship breakdown, or the malicious words that an unpleasant colleague may make at work to undermine someone, or the cruel names young kids may make to each other, in a playground that hurt. It’s also the thoughtless, throwaway remarks that many people make about someone’s weight, their appearance or their abilities, that can chip away at people’s self esteem and rip a huge cut in their heart. In some ways it doesn’t matter whether someone means to hurt you or they don’t, when words hurt they can hurt like mad, and it can be very difficult indeed to let them go.  However, hurtful…we have to let it go.

I had a friend who was so blown away recently by the words of someone that didn’t know anything about her, except through hearsay from others that too didn’t really know much about her either.  Although the words were stated indirectly, she knew that the individual had referenced and was referencing her a ” bad” woman and that she should be left alone.  She was totally devastated by this persons words, and she said that they even referred to Luke 20: 27-40 to make the point.  She said that she cried for hours, thinking that someone would actually think such awful things about her.  She asked the question, “Why would a Christian brother/sister say such awful things about another person without knowing them?”  

I lovingly told her that to be mindful… that we are NOT to tear one another down, by our words or actions!  And that by hanging onto those hurt feelings will be emotionally draining and damaging, and that she should let it go!  And going further to say that praying for that person(s) is important to ensure that she is able to keep them in the proper light.  The same light that our Savior keeps us in when we fall short.

In Titus 3:1-15 ESV it says:

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, …

And in Colossians 3:8 ESV… “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.”

So, if you too have been hurt by the words of others. (Or if you have hurt others by your own spoken words)  Please remember that our words can either harm or heal others.  We should all aim at healing with our words and actions.  We should NEVER do anything to hurt/harm another person.  Unlike my friend…some people may not heal, and their blood will forever be on our hands.

If you have been hurt by the words of someone, Matthew 6:14-15 makes it plain….” For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

When words hurt it’s important to take any actions possible to minimise the effect and stop them from doing long term damage to your self esteem. Whether the words come from someone at work, or from a close relative or friend try to let them go as soon as possible. We should always assume that the person who uttered them has long since forgotten and moved on. It’s what we need to try and do too.

If you too have been hurt by the words or actions of someone… Go ahead and forgive them and put it behind you!


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