The Power of the Tongue

 

Abuse doesn’t just happen in trailer parks. It doesn’t just take up residence on the “wrong side of the tracks,” or to families living below “poverty level.”

Abuse happens on Main Street.

And, on your street. 

              
 
A friend told me, “My mother’s words have poked many holes into my heart.” Well into her sixties, happily married for forty years with grown children, the mere mention of her mother causes her to wilt like a flower deprived of life-giving sunshine. She is transformed from the white-haired woman in front of me to a timid little girl overwhelmed with unanswered questions spanning decades of verbal abuse, “Why didn’t my mother love me? Wasn’t I worthy of her love?”

 

Another friend shared, “My mother never wanted me. She would say, ‘I wish I could’ve left you at the hospital. If I could, I would’ve never brought you home.’” When I was a little girl my mother would say, “Go to your room. I can’t stand to look at your ugly face anymore.”
 
 

Sadly, the one who should love us the most, sometimes hurts us the most.

 

Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” We can use our mouths to encourage or destroy. Build up or tear down. “

 

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may never hurt me” is a lie! Your words can destroy the lives of your children. They hold power over your spouse, over your family members, and your coworkers.

 

Will they “poke holes” in those around you for decades to come, or will they instill value and purpose?

              

We live in a broken world where “hurting people, hurt people.” Each of us has a “sob story.” Everyone has a secret hurt etched into their memory eating away at them.
 
 
Your hurtful words validate the unworthiness they already feel.
 
 
“You never know how long your words will stay in someone’s mind
even long after you’ve forgotten you spoke them.”
 
 
Words hurt. Choose them wisely.
 
 


Not So Rosy Anymore

 

Relishing my first morning home in weeks, I carried a steamy mug of coffee outside and settled into the rocker on the front porch. After a few sips, I noticed the green leaves of my rose bush were drooping toward the ground instead of stretching toward the roof as they had been. From my comfy spot on the porch it looked full and green, but something was wrong. Although the plant looked healthy from a distance, up close a damaging weed had overtaken it. Creeping up from the ground, it wrapped itself around every branch, stifling the green foliage, replacing it with its own.

“This is what happens when sin creeps in undetected,” I heard a still small voice say.

 We might appear whole on the outside, but sin weaves itself so tightly around us we believe there is no escape. Like my rose bush we no longer reach for the sky; we droop toward the ground in defeat. When we call out to God, He lovingly unravels the weeds from our branches setting us free from everything that entangled us. They become His to carry, not ours, allowing us to bloom again just like my rose bush.

 “So great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.” Psalms 103: 11b



How to discern a toxic “Christian”

 
How to discern a toxic “Christian”
 
 
 
  “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
(Matthew 7:23)
 

 

These are possibly the most heartbreaking words written in the bible.

 

God’s word here is final.

No second chances.

Ever.
 
 

His words mean this person will spend an eternity apart from the One

they believed they were serving.     

       

“On that day, many will say to me,

Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name,

drive out demons in your name,

and do many miracles in your name?”

(Matthew 7:22)

 

How does a person die believing they’re a born-again Christian,

then face God only to hear they were never His child in the first place?  

 

And, how can we know who these false Christians are?

 

The bible warns us to be on guard:       

       

“Be on your guard against false prophets

(fake Christians)

who come to you in sheep’s clothing

(as innocent, loving, caring),

but inwardly are ravaging wolves.” 

(divisive, cunning, manipulative.) 

(Matthew 7:15)

 

Examine their lives based on the example below:              

 

“You’ll know them by their fruit.

Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or

figs from thistles? (vs 17)

In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit,

but a bad tree produces bad fruit.

(vs 18) A good tree can’t produce bad fruit;

neither can a bad tree produce good fruit.

(vs 19) Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit

is cut down and thrown into the fire.

(vs 20) So you’ll recognize them by their fruit.

(Matthew 7:16–20)    

 

Are they producing BAD FRUIT?    

          

“Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality,

moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery,

hatreds, strife (stirring up trouble),

jealousy, outbursts of anger,

selfish ambitions,

dissensions

(disagreements that lead to conflicts with others),

factions (forming divisive groups),

envy, drunkenness,

carousing (drinking and being loud),

and anything similar. (vs 21)

Those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

(Galatians 5:19–21)

 
 
 

Look closely at Proverbs 6:16-19:                        

 

“The Lord hates six things; in fact, seven are detestable (despicable) to him:      

                 

  1. Arrogant eyes (An exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities)

           

  1. A lying tongue (lies about others, embellishes situations)

           

  1. Hands that shed innocent blood (no one is immune to their wrath)

           

  1. A heart that plots wicked schemes (actively looks for ways to sow discord, cause trouble where there was none, keep conflict going, stir-up drama)

           

  1. Feet eager to run to evil (loves to hear juicy gossip so they can share it with others for the purpose of causing division, always in the middle of drama.)

           

  1. A lying witness who gives false testimony (twists situations/words to suit their agenda)

       

(# 7 is detestable to God) One who stirs up trouble among brothers (Christians)  
 
 

 

The bible gives us a direct warning about how to deal with a divisive person:
 

        (vs 17) “Now I urge you, brothers and sisters (Christians),

to watch out for those who create divisions

and obstacles contrary to teaching you learned.

   AVOID THEM,          

because such people do not serve our Lord Christ

but their own appetites (desires).

They deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting
with smooth talk and flattering words.”  
 
(Romans 16:17-18)     
 
 

 

They may be your friend, neighbor, church member, family member, etc.,

yet their hidden agenda is to stir up trouble inside the church,

cause dissension inside your family and sow discord wherever they go—all the while

portraying themselves as a dedicated Christian

with your best interest at heart.

They may even use scripture as an excuse for their hateful attack.

Sadly, many people may fall for their charade believing them to be genuine.  
 
 
 
 

Below are traits of what the world calls a TOXIC PERSON / NARCISSIST:            

(definition: a person who has an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves)      

                  

* Speak badly about others        * Talks more than listens                    

   * Treats others poorly                 *  Lies to you                                         

   * Are self-obsessed                *  Loses their temper                       

* Plays the victim                   * Tries to control, manipulate you

* Gossips                                * Are negative                             

* Criticizes you                       * Lack compassion                     

* Always has to be right             * Constantly have drama going on

 

 

Every single one of these actions by a toxic, narcissistic person

are listed in Galatians 5:19-21 and Proverbs 6:16-19 (as listed above)  

 

Are toxic, narcissistic people beyond the redemptive saving power of God?            

 

Absolutely not.                

 

“For ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

(Romans 3:23)  

 

We are all sinners with a fleshly nature that craves these toxic habits,

but we don’t have to give in and let them win. As genuine Christians,

we must die to ourselves every single day.       

         

“Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its

passions and  desires.” (Galatians 5:24)  

 

Can Christians be toxic people?  

 

Absolutely.  

 

But, if it’s a continual pattern where they DO NOT choose to acknowledge

the discord they create among others, they do not take responsibility

for the slander they’ve shared, the lies they’ve spread,

the hurt they’ve caused, their indifference toward the suffering

they inflicted on others… etc… then, I would have to question

if they had a genuine, life-altering salvation through Jesus Christ,

or if they are a—fake Christian.  

 

When we humble ourselves and ask Jesus into our heart, the Holy Spirit

indwells within us. He guides us toward asking forgiveness from those we’ve wronged.

He prods us, reminding us when we “come short of the glory of God,” which for me,

is every single day. As it should be with other Christians as well.

 

Salvation doesn’t make us perfect. It makes us forgiven.  

 

We must pray, study our bible, and in every situation extend grace toward others.

As genuine Christians, we must be willing to

                         actively love one another— not just SAY we do.                        

 

“Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful,

is not arrogant, is not rude, is not self-seeking,

is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs.

Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth.

It bears all things, believes all things,

hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends.”

(I Corinthians 13:4-8)  

 

 

As we walk this journey together, toxic “Christians” will mar our pathway.

 

We must pray for their blind eyes to be opened, so they never hear the words,

“I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
 
 
 


Broken Beyond Repair

Last week I broke my favorite necklace — a Mother’s Day gift from my husband six years ago. Thinking it was a total loss, I was ready to throw it in the trash. My husband said, “Don’t throw it away. I can fix it.” I argued and said, “Don’t bother. It’s broken beyond repair.” The next day he surprised me with the necklace – it was new again. Is there a circumstance in your life that’s “broken beyond repair?” Maybe it’s a relationship with a friend or relative, finances, your health…

Give it to God today and let Him fix it. Nothing is ever broken beyond His repair.
 
To appoint unto them that mourn…
beauty for ashes,
the oil of joy for mourning,
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness:
that they may be called trees of righteousness,
the planting  of the Lord, that he might be glorified.
Isaiah 61:3
 
 
Elevation Worship/ Come to the Altar. Listen Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYQ5yXCc_CA
 


ParentLife Oct, 2018 article

Facing the Unexpected: One parent’s story of having a child diagnosed with autism.
By: Amanda West
Published by: LifeWay Publications, October 2018.
 
 
John 9: 1-3 “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be manifest in him.”
 
In December 2016 my then ten-year-old son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
 
If you would have told me the day he was born, or even, years later, that a doctor would use those words to describe my son, I wouldn’t have believed you.  He was born full-term, weighing 8 ½ pounds. I fell in love with him the minute my nurse handed him to me and I saw the deep dimples pressed into each of his chubby cheeks.
 
He met all of the “milestones” set by the American Academy of Pediatrics, he enrolled in pre-K and knew all of his colors, shapes and alphabet. But, looking back there were signs we had missed. Instead of pushing his cars or trucks across the rug like his big brother, he lined them up, organizing them by size or color. He repeated the sounds of characters he heard on television programs instead of answering in his own voice sometimes, but I quickly dismissed these behaviors as him just being immature, or as being silly.
 
The last week of kindergarten before summer break he broke his leg in two places while jumping on a trampoline in our backyard. Yet, he never cried or moaned in pain. He spent the entire summer learning to walk again. By the time, he was in first grade he stopped enjoying touch. If anyone touched him (with the exception of me), he became stiff and rigid or he would cry out in pain. He developed phobias of bugs, germs, or textures like beach sand touching him or scratchy fabric.
 
At some point before first grade and the time of his diagnosis, he began stimming (this can look like hand flapping, jumping up and down, or repetitive movements.)
 
Still, I wasn’t ready to believe my child had a disorder. It had taken my husband and I five years to have our first child, and after suffering through three miscarriages I had finally gotten pregnant with him. He was the child I had prayed for day after day, year after year.
 
So, why would God give us an “imperfect” child after all of that waiting and loss? Had he somehow made a mistake?
 
Sadly, autism numbers are on the rise. In the 1980’s it was reported as 1 in every 10,000, but as of April 26, 2018 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 1 in 59 children are now considered on the spectrum. In fact, the numbers are higher for boys with 1 in 37 being diagnosed and 1 in every 151 girls.
 
So, what does this mean exactly?
 
Why am I telling you this?
 
Well, I’m sharing this with you because chances are, you or someone you know has or will have a child on the spectrum. 
 
As a parent, or grandparent you know your child better than anyone. If you feel like something isn’t right, make a list of your child’s behavior and share it with your child’s pediatrician.
 
Autism is a “spectrum disorder” so there are differing degrees of symptoms and not every child will display all of them. If your child has already been diagnosed, please know you are not alone in this. It’s important to reach out to others who understand what you are going through. Find an online support group or if one is not available start one at your local church.
 
Psalms 119:71 says “It is good for me that I was afflicted, That I might learn Your statutes.” This verse, John 9:1-3 and others similar to them throughout the bible, teach that God doesn’t give us children with special needs because he wants to punish or hurt us.
 
In fact, through the lives of these children He can teach us some of the most profound lessons. There will be challenging days, but there will be rewards as well.
 
In the end, I wouldn’t trade my son for anything in the world, after all, HE is my world!