Once you say the words, they can’t be taken back. They don’t go back in. No, they stay on the hearts of the hearer. Words are powerful and once they are heard, they cannot be unspoken. Words are never “unheard.”
There’s this lie we believe. The lie says that it’s fine to say words if they are true. Sometimes…the hard truths are the scariest words to say. The truth can be hurtful. Yes, even true words can be dangerous.
Upon speaking hurtful, true words…we might feel better for a moment. We’ve finally told the truth. But then? Yeah, sometimes the truth is the hardest to take back. Not every truthful word is an edifying word. Not all truth speaks life. It’s the true insults that cannot be rewound quite so easily. We cannot go back and say, “Perhaps I was exaggerating.” We cannot go back. Hurtful, honest words are stuck. They stay exactly where we left them.
Not every truthful word is an edifying word.”
I know this from my own recent experience. Do you know where this has left me? When words cannot be unspoken, all we can do is pray for the impacted listener. “God, please help the listener and the listener’s family to heal from the harsh words I said. God, I am so sorry for spewing out words.” I wish I could say that I’ve only prayed this prayer once. I’m not always the fastest learner. I’m a woman of words. When I am hurt, my words have sometimes been like stingers all too quickly defending what is broken and hurt within. Words can build or they can tear down, but they cannot be undone. I don’t think God gave us words as a defense mechanism. I’m pretty sure he entrusted us with words for His glory. Where does that leave us?
Sweet friends, I am determined to glorify God in convicting times. I truly believe that there are a few things we can do in this situation. Perhaps sharing this wisdom with you, sweet readers, will serve as a reminder for us all.
1) Just because we have been wronged? Just because we are being honest? Just because we have held these words in for a long time? These reasons aren’t free passes to hurt someone else with our words. Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. ~James 1:19
2) We cannot ever “undo” our sin. But Jesus? Jesus has already paid the penalty of our sin. When we are really convicted? Our conviction should always lead to repentence. Only Jesus can forgive sin. Only Jesus can cast our sins as far as the east is from the west. Therefore repent and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped out, that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. ~Acts 3:19. God’s word tells us that repentance is the act of turning from our sin. Jesus never told someone to carry on in their sin, did He? No. He always, always told them to stop. We know His words were freeing such as, “Go and sin no more.” In Jesus, we can have new life apart from sin. We must confess our sins to Him and we must repent. We do not continue to sin. We turn from it. When conviction stirs in our heart, we cannot undo our sin. But Praise God that we can say we are sorry. Confession is the beginning of repentance. I’m starting there. You can too, sweet friend.
3) When you know you are wrong? Everything that happened before my sin? It doesn’t justify my sin. I am responsible for my reaction. After I apologize to God for my clumsy reaction, I can…and I SHOULD apologize to the one(s) hurt by my words. I’m following through with this hard thing. I hope you will too.
Precious reader friends, please lean in closely. It’s confession time with you. You already know this, but might I remind you?
I’m a sinner who loves Jesus…just a regular mom who messes up…often. I blog to encourage others in their walks with and toward life with Jesus. I’m a passionate follower of Jesus. This doesn’t make me an expert, you know this. It certainly doesn’t make me perfect. I hope today will serve as an authentic reminder that we don’t always get it right and that life isn’t just about the pretty moments. My prayer for you is that you will learn from the genuine sharing of my heart, so that we all may grow closer and closer to Jesus. I mess up. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you do too. And God in His sovereign mercy loves us and gives us opportunity to change. Again and again He pours out His mercy and love for us. While we were still sinner, He sent His son to die for us. I didn’t write those words. Those beautiful words are all His and for His glory.
May I share an example of His grace and His faithfulness to forgive? You’re gonna want to hear this, reader friend. Okey doke. You see, I was going to end this blog post with a certain scripture verse, but couldn’t remember the reference. I opened my Bible app to find this instead. I’ll leave this right here for you. To God be the glory.
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ~1 John 1:8-9
Thank you, Jesus. Lead us and teach us your ways.
From my heart to yours, ~Courtney