CHRISTIANS Speak Abusively to No One

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EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored over 140 books. Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).

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Speaking Abusively to Others. Words have the power to cause emotional and mental pain or injury. The irony is that we tend to speak abusively to the ones we love while choosing our words wisely when talking with a stranger. Genesis 6:5 and 8:21 tells us that we all ‘are mentally bent toward evil.’ And Jeremiah tells us that ‘our hearts are treacherous and we cannot fully know them.’ (Jer. 17:9) Honestly, there are times because of human imperfection, each of us has been guilty of saying things we later regret. However, human imperfection is not an excuse for continued verbal abuse of anyone. Moreover, the Bible warns us about a way of speaking to others that has absolutely no place in a Christian home or in the church. Paul admonished Christians: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and abusive words* be put away from you, along with all malice.” (Ephesians 4:31) Other translations render the phrase “abusive words” as “abusive speech” (LEB) “harsh words,” (NLT) “slander,” (ESV, NASB, NIV, CSB), and “insults” (GNT). Abusive words or speech, which include degrading names, harsh words, relentless criticism, ​can destroy the dignity of others and leave them feeling worthless. The young, immature, and vulnerable, and imperishable and trusting hearts of children are especially weak, helpless, and defenseless to the crushing effects of abusive words or speech.​ (Colossians 3:21)

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* Abusive Words: (Gr. blasphēmia) This is referring to reviling, malicious talk, abusive words, slander (Matt. 15:19); blasphemy, the content of defamation or slander (Lu 5:21). This is abusive words that are spoken in anger, which could be intentionally or unintentionally hurting another, as well as damaging their reputation.

In the most powerful terms possible, the Bible condemns abusive speech: the practice of verbally abusing others with insulting or derogatory words. This can take on two forms: (1) using hard words when talking to others, or (2) speaking harshly with your tone and demeanor, or talking down to as though the person is lesser than you. An individual who makes it a practice of speaking in such ways to others is in a dangerous position, for a verbally abusive person can be expelled from the church if he or she fails to apply repeated efforts by others to help the person change. Unless you change your ways, you could even lose out on eternal life. (1 Corinthians 5:11-13; 6:9, 10) Unquestionably, then, there is no way for you to remain in God’s love if you are uttering words that are unwholesome, untrue, or unkind. Such words can harm the mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing of others.

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How can you use the gift of speech that God has given you? Remember that the Word of God urges you to “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as the need may be, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29) God is well pleased when we speak words that build up each other up, encourage one another, and strengthen others, be it family, friends, fellow Christians, or strangers. It takes thinking things through to use such words. The Bible does not give you some magic formula to follow; neither does it include some long list of recommended types of “sound speech which is beyond reproach.” (Titus 2:8) To speak words that are “good for building up,” we need to keep in mind three simple essential factors that are the essence of upbuilding speech: It is wholesome, it is true, and it is kind. ​Proverbs 15:23 says, “A word in due season, how good is it!” How does it make you feel when someone offers you a sincere word of praise? You feel noticed and cared for, yes? Then, do the same. – Read Matthew 7:12.

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Matthew 7:12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
12 “In all things, therefore, whatever you want that people should do to you, thus also you do to them. For this is the law and the prophets.

It is true, our ability to speak and express our innermost thoughts and feelings with tens of thousands of words of vocabulary is a precious gift from God. Our love for God, the giver of speech, should move us to use, not misuse, the gift he has given us. Always remember that the words you use with or toward others have power​: (1) the power to build the other person up, (2) or the power to tear down the other person. Then, we need to endeavor (make every effort) to use this gift that God gave us, “for building up.” Our well thought out chosen words will thus be a blessing to everyone that comes in contact with us and will also help us to remain in God’s love.

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ARE YOUR WORDS UPBUILDING?

Principle: “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”​—Colossians 4:6.

Some Questions to Ask yourself

  • How long has it been since you have commended someone for something?​ (1 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 2:1-3)

  • Do you say please and thank you when talking with others? (Genesis 13:14; John 11:41)

  • When conversating with others, do you dominate the conversation by talking about yourself, or what you think is important, or do you allow others to talk, showing sincere interest in what they have to say?​ (Philippians 2:3, 4; James 1:19)

  • Do you use what you know about other’s lives to build them up, or you use your knowledge of them to tear them down?​ (Proverbs 15:1, 2)

  • Do you use profanity (curse words, obscene words), and what does this reveal about your heart?​ (Luke 6:45; James 3:10, 11)

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3 thoughts on “CHRISTIANS Speak Abusively to No One

Add yours

    1. We must never believe that we can go without sinning, as the article points out, “Genesis 6:5 and 8:21 tells us that we all ‘are mentally bent toward evil.’ And Jeremiah tells us that ‘our hearts are treacherous and we cannot fully know them.’ (Jer. 17:9) Honestly, there are times because of human imperfection, each of us has been guilty of saying things we later regret.” An awareness of our human imperfection can help us stay under the control that you speak of, as we will have the mind of Christ.

      1. This is, no doubt, true. We can, however, do better at controlling ourselves, thoughts, tongues and behavior better than we want to admit.

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