Watching Our Words Carefully Even When We Are in Pain

“There some people brought to [Jesus] a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place His hand on him.” (Mark 7:32)

My son came home from AWANAs the other night happy that a little girl from his school was there. At the elementary school, she is in a class with one of his friends who has had an on and off friendship. My son said, “She said she would talk to Sam (name changed) to see if he’d play with me at recess again, because Sam COMMUNICATES with her, but he won’t COMMUNICATE with me!”

He just turned 8 years old and to hear him say that, and also use the word “communicate” exactly correct, sort of cracked me up and I tried to keep my smile to myself. My son, a boy, complaining that someone won’t communicate with him.Oh, how I hope he always communicates!

When Jesus’ disciples saw a man who was deaf and could hardly speak, they brought the man to Jesus and then begged Jesus to heal him. Jesus was and would be healing many people and word would quickly spread about His ability to take away pain and disabilities. But even the disciples thought speaking was vital enough that this man needed Jesus’ special touch and love immediately and should not risk being passed over.

Words can hurt and words can help. If you are a parent, you’ve likely heard, “You are the best mommy/daddy in the whole world” and “I am going to run away!” all in the same 24 hours. Thankfully, our Father God never uses flippant remarks to hurt us. But do we offer Him the same?

Illness can make us tired, worn down, short on patience, and quick to respond with unkind words or a sarcastic tone. As I’ve been working on my “mommy book” for moms with illness, I’ve been trying to catch myself when my voice goes into “mom mode” and starts getting an irritating tone to it. (“How many times have I asked you to pick up your towel?”)

When we whisper to a friend about another, roll our eyes at the check out clerk helping us, or call someone from church to gossip (uh, ahem) I mean. . . ask for prayer for someone. . . we are throwing our words around without realizing their impact. Just as when we offer the “least of these” God’s love when we care, we are also hurting Him when we say things we should not.

Prayer: Lord, Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Let me have apples of gold come out of my mouth, not old tinfoil that’s been sitting on leftovers too long.

About the Author:
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and has lived with rheumatoid arthritis since 1993. She is the author of the book “Beyond Casseroles: 505 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend” which has lots of things to say or not say to a friend who is hurting.

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