CAN WORDS REALLY CRUSH MY SPIRIT?
A soothing tongue is a tree of life but perversion in it crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:4
We often don’t equate words with weaponry. The idea seems overly dramatic yet anyone who has suffered the long-term effect of others hurtful attacks can attest just how much damage words can inflict.
I am struck by the strong language of Solomon’s words. Perverse words don’t just sting or cause someone to wince. They have the ability to crush the spirit. The recipient of a tirade can tell you what happens to their body as the words come at them. I hear many wives and husbands say that a bitter confrontation with their spouse leaves them physically weak. As the barrage of accusations is spoken, they feel themselves sinking in spirit. Some are even reduced to a state of wordlessness.
But here’s how insidious it is. Many suffer from verbal abuse and are completely unaware of it because it can happen without shouting and without nasty name-calling. Here are some signs if you suspect this is happening to you.
- You express your opinions less and less freely.
- You find yourself walking on eggshells, careful of how to say something.
- You feel emotionally unsafe.
- You find yourself doubting your memory or sense of reality.
- You doubt your own judgment.
- You doubt your abilities.
- You feel vulnerable and insecure around that person.
- You feel increasingly trapped and powerless.
Colossians 4:6 “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.” To season our speech with grace means that we are to seize the opportunity, with our words, to bring out the best in another person. Can you imagine how this would transform our relationships if all of us checked every word we spoke and put it through the grid of this scripture?
Perhaps you were raised in a critical home and as children do, you consumed the words in your spirit. Unfortunately, you might have married someone who continued the pattern of criticism. The relationship felt familiar, even normal, and their words confirmed what you believed to be true about yourself. What is the cure for anyone with a wounded spirit? An intimate relationship with a Savior who speaks graciously. He needs to re-write your reality. His gracious whispers wash over your powerlessness, your wordlessness, and empower you to live with Him in spacious places.
Lord, I praise You for every person who speaks Your life into another’s spirit today. Send Your encouragers to the powerless today! Stir those who are crushed in Spirit to seek Your Word and open their heart to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen