She “done me wrong.” She really did wrong me, and if I could tell you what happened, you’d agree that it was an irreparable loss. I really wanted to tell her how badly she’d injured me.
But then, I think, my Heavenly Father interrupted my thoughts. He said, so gently, “Libby, suppose she says she’s sorry. Would that change anything?” No. Any apologies she made wouldn’t remove the damage she’d done. “But—”
The Lord interrupted me. “Suppose you do confront her. Is she likely to admit she was wrong?” I knew the answer to that. No, she wouldn’t admit she was wrong. She truly thought she was right, and the drama she’d create would only further my loss.
I heard God’s very soft voice speak again, “Then confrontation isn’t going to help anything, is it?” No, I thought, it won’t help. But it sure would sure make me feel better!
“I doubt that,” God seemed to answer. “Suppose you leave her to Me. Let Me handle it.”
So I surrendered to the Lord my pain and loss. I remembered the words of an old Scots woman:
I taste my words ere they pass my teeth.
So I did “taste my words” to see how they would sound to the person I wanted to pay back. I “tasted” the recurring damage my harsh words would cause—to her, to myself, and even to others who overheard them. I knew my unforgiving spirit would hurt my relationship with God—because I so often need His forgiveness. So that good day, I “tasted my words.” I did not let them “pass my teeth.” I entrusted my pain to the Lord, and He comforted me.
Proverbs 15:1-4 says:
A soft answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly,
But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.
The eyes of the LORD are in every place,
Keeping watch on the evil and the good.
A wholesome tongue is a tree of life.
Isn’t it interesting that in the middle of these verses about soft answers and harsh words there is a reminder that God hears our conversations and assesses them? What a wonderful reason for responding to hurtful words with a gentle answer and a forgiving heart!
I hope I can remember that lesson. Once I have spoken a word, I cannot recall it. My explanations or apologies cannot erase what I said. So I’d sure better “taste” every word before it passes my teeth! May God give me—and you—a “wholesome tongue” that will bring joy and life to others.
A Word of Encouragement from Elizabeth Handford