This entire post is devoted to our words. I would like us to take a moment to consider how we use them, what words we choose to speak over others, and how what we say can help or hurt. It is true that our words can build someone up, but they can also tear someone down.
This week I have watched the exchange of posts in a group that I am a member of online. In an effort to protect privacy, I do not mention names a lot on my blog. It will not be any different in this post. However, I have had such a desire to speak out and be an encouragement especially in this situation. I have shared my positive and uplifting thoughts with the individual that originally posted an innocent question. Others have taken off with this and have really been so forceful and pushy about their views on things, even tearing this woman’s fiance down in their posts. I do not agree with this at all. First of all, she came to this group asking a simple question. I’m sure she did not think it would lead into the majority of the group speaking against her future husband. The question she asked was in a Christian group regarding taking her children to church although her fiance and his family were all hurt previously in a church environment when a priest did the unthinkable from what we were told. This young lady expressed this in her post and indicated that her fiance did not understand why they couldn’t just do bible studies in their own home. This lady felt guilty about not taking her children to church, but what struck me was that no where in her post did she indicate that he had forbidden her to go. He hasn’t. He has just been so tremendously hurt by “church people” and “Christians” that he does not desire to sit in a brick and mortar building after this. I was saddened by the fact that well meaning women have joined in talking about their experiences with non believing husbands and those that were “unevenly yoked.” They have been so busy preaching to her about all the things that are wrong with her not going to church and even indicating that they saw a red flag where her fiance was concerned. They even suggested that she needed to “rethink” her future with this man. What they have failed to keep in their mind at all times is that this man has NOT forbidden her to go at all. He has a desire to still do bible studies and have that relationship with Jesus … but because of the hurt he has felt, he does not have a desire to return to church at this moment in time.
Why am I bringing someone else’s business up in my blog? You might even be sitting in judgement of ME right this minute saying I had no right because it wasn’t my story to tell. Ah, but that is where you are wrong. You see, although my situation is slightly different, I can identify with the hurt that this man has felt at the hands of fellow “Christians” and “church members.” I can relate to not wanting to rub elbows with people that may end up hurting me or my family at some point. I speak from experience at several different churches where this has happened to my family. So, this IS my story to tell … and it IS my business … because it has happened to me and my family.
My heart hurt for this poor woman as I watched the exchange this week. They are not bad people. None of them, not the ones that are trying to give her this advice, nor the lady and her fiance that feels so strongly about this situation. I am not trying to imply that at all. I just want to bring this to light so that we are aware that just because you may feel strongly about something does NOT give you the right to talk against their family whether it’s their husband, fiance, etc. Think of the words that you are using when giving advice on what are often times very sensitive subjects. Ask yourself if your words will help build this woman up or help tear her and her fiance down. What good will come from your being pushy and offending her when talking against her fiance? I have had that happened as well. Let me tell you from experience, it hurts, and we do not take kindly to it. We will cling to our husbands and fiances more so than ever before when you talk about them, belittle them and down them.
Words HURT, people!
My family was attending a church that we felt very passionately about. We were involved in just about every thing that you can possibly think of to volunteer for in a church. Our family tried hard to be a part and to serve. Yet, as much as we tried and as much as we gave and did, people still had negative comments for us. One lady, obviously disturbed by something that went on in a meeting that was supposed to be private and confidential, called me and instead of using my husband’s name as she normally did, she chose, instead, to say with a harsh tone in her voice, “YOUR HUSBAND … ” and went on to state her disapproval of him. She set out that day to say ill things about my husband to me in an effort to cause trouble for us. What happened was certainly not the result she was hoping for. Instead of me raking my husband over the coals over this situation in the church, I supported him and knew to shy away from her from that moment on. I had yet another lady walk up to my husband and tell him that he was “un-Christian-like” when we refused to meet with a self appointed committee that was sticking their nose in where it did not belong. We refused because we knew it was not being handled correctly and wanted no part of it. Yet, hateful and hurtful things were said about us. So much had happened at that church, but we were determined to remain because we were doing the will of God by serving at that church. Despite the hurt we felt in numerous situations, we stayed. This, however, was the straw that broke the camel’s back. We resigned that morning from all positions that we held in that church. Words that were spoken hurt my entire family, and these “Christians” and “church people” cut us to the very core with their treatment of us and their words. We removed ourselves from this church, and truth be known, we should have done this a long time ago. One very wise woman told me that God was showing us all of the signs and reasons we needed to leave that particular church, yet we did not heed His warnings. You know what? She’s right. We stayed longer than we should have at this church, and in doing so, all it did was cause more hurt to my family and I to the point to where MY husband did not want to be a part of any church where people were going to act like that. He, being very new in his faith, was hurt more than the rest of us. These people did more harm with their words, and it does hurt greater coming from someone inside of the church or a fellow Christian. We know that there are no perfect people in this world, and people fall short every single day. We all have sin in our lives. Sinners are as much in the church as they are walking around outside the walls of the church. We come in to contact with them every day. We just do not expect to be treated this way inside those sacred walls of the church by the body of Christ. When we are, the hurt is magnified. Such as the hurt of the young man mentioned in the lady’s question to the group.
Choose your words carefully, people. I cannot stress enough how much words can truly hurt and slice down to the very core of a person injuring their heart. Sure, you can issue an apology later as happened in the previous situation I mentioned with a church person telling us that we were “un-Christian-like.” Here’s the thing, though. The damage has already been done. Just like the story we’ve probably all heard about the little boy that was given a hammer and nails. He was told to drive a nail through the fence every time he wanted to say something ugly. Then much later, he was asked to remove those nails. In doing so, it revealed holes in the fence which is exactly what words do when spoken harshly, they leave enormous holes in our hearts. Words truly do hurt!
I do understand the situation that these precious people are in right this minute. I’ve been there, and honestly, I am there right this very minute due to recent hurts in yet another church. I can relate to their struggle. Even if I couldn’t, I would not make comments against her fiance as I feel it is wrong for anyone to do so. Instead, I wish they had chosen to encourage her and uplift her as well as her fiance in the words spoken. When I commented, I did so to let her know that I would be praying for her in this situation and for God to guide them in the direction that He wanted them to go right now that suits them with what they’re going through. Later when I saw the thread had continued to grow in size with all of the people voicing their opinions against her fiance, I posted that I could understand from her original post the hurt that her fiance was feeling. He hasn’t turned his back on God or His Word, he is just hurting so tremendously right now. What they need most of all is prayer. They need to feel “church people” and fellow “Christians” come along side them and LOVE on them … all of them!
Whatever happened with this young lady that posed this question to the group? She removed herself just this afternoon from that very group. How sad that well meaning people pressured her so much and talked against her relationship and fiance to the point that she removed herself from the group that she originally turned to for loving advice.
Be careful with your words. Use them to build someone up, not tear them or their family members down.