What Are Words For? 

Job 7:11
Therefore I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.”

As a child, I learned a simple proverb designed to help when someone said something unkind, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” As the years passed, I found, for many, the wounds caused by unkind words are much greater than anything a kick or a stick could ever inflict. The closer the relationship, the more painful it is when the sword of the mouth cuts deep. This seems to be especially true in marriage relationships. It is common for a couple to be upset with one another, and lash out with unkind words. The hurt caused by letting insults fly, may take weeks to repair. In some cases, a person never seems able to get over it. I think we can learn a valuable lesson from Job regarding the unkind words that flow out of our mouth in a moment of rage, pain or confusion. Job declares,

“I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.”

Job realized, much of what he was saying was fueled by the intense pain he was experiencing. He seems to be pleading with his friends to understand that some of what he was saying was more of a reaction to his anguish, than an expression of what he really believed. I believe it is important to be very forgiving of a person who speaks out of pain, sorrow or confusion. Just as when the hammer hits our thumb, and a word comes out that we would never say otherwise. It is common for a person to say things in distress, they don’t really mean.

If in the midst of a heated argument, your spouse said something you are having a difficult time getting past, give them the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps they were speaking from the anguish of their spirit. Be willing to extend the mercy Job was hoping to receive from his friends. After all, when the story reaches its end, we find out how wrong they both were.
Pastor Jim

 

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