Our words have impact. They can make or break a relationship. They can build and strengthen or they can destroy and weaken those that hear them. Every day we choose how to use our words. Every day we choose to build or tear down those that we care about and those that we encounter throughout the day. We can learn How to Talk to Others so that others will enjoy spending time with us.
** Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.** Proverbs 4:24
Whether we are talking to our spouse, our children, our best friend or someone we just met, our words will make a lasting impression. The things we say will stay with the ones we care about most for the rest of their lives.
The Book of Proverbs is a book dedicated to teaching us wisdom. Wisdom in our finances, our work ethic, and our interaction with others. Here, our verse from chapter 4, tells us that wisdom rejects rebellious talk and twisted conversations. It warns us to deny ourselves the use of these two types of words….words like:
I don’t care what you want, I am more important than you!
I don’t feel like doing what I am told, so, I won’t do it!
You always think your way is better, I am not going to listen to you anymore!
I heard what you said, but, I don’t care, we are going to do it my way!
Froward or perverse has to do with being contrary, selfish or rebellious. It is the opposite of working as a team. It is the opposite of unity. It is reacting emotionally, without thinking, without truly listening to the other person in the conversation. It is only being interested in our own needs, opinions and desires and never considering the other person’s. It is always having to have the last word, and to have everything the way we think is best. It is a feeling of being superior to those around us. But being forward or perverse with our words shows the state of our heart. A heart that has not been kept with all diligence. A heart that has been filled with self-satisfaction and self-promotion.
So, how can we rid ourselves of this selfish and perverse heart?
Our lives are built on habits. Habits are things we learn and then repeat day after day. If one day we started to think that everything has to be to our liking and then repeated that thought again and again, it became a habit. A deep-rooted habit that formed our personality and our way of communicating. Now, that habit is our main way of interacting with others. Also, habits are learned from our environment. If we have lived in an environment where harsh words were the norm, it will take extra effort to rid ourselves of this influenece.
It may manifest in our inability to patiently listen to the needs of others. It may manifest in our need to constantly interrupt when someone is talking. Or it may manifest in our need to raise our voice to make our point known, or sadly, it may manifest itself by always finding fault with the other person and needing to criticize or insult them in order to make ourselves feel better about ourselves.
However this habit manifests itself, if we want to be rid of such a perverse heart, we can do it. Here are a few ideas on how to rid ourselves of a heart and words that hurt others.
Pray. Ask God to help us get to the root of why we have to act this way. Ask Him to give us the courage to face whatever trials we must face so that He can dig it out of our hearts and give us hearts that are considerate, patient and loving.
Read. Read and search for passages in the Bible that will give us better direction for our thoughts and actions. It is so easy to do word searches with today’s technology. We can find several passages that will remind us daily to keep our heart and words in check.** Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. ** from Psalm 51:10 is a great place to start. We can read this verse everyday and ask the Lord to change us. It will take time but the Lord will faithfully answer our prayer for a heart change.
Be accountable. Find someone that will keep us accountable. Someone that will ask us regularly how we are doing with our verses and prayer time and our responses in our conversations with those in our world.
Be patient with ourselves and with God’s process. Life would be wonderful if we all had magic wands that could wave away our problems and our shortcomings. But life is not a fairy tale. Life takes hard work. Life takes focus and diligence. And the desire for serious inner change requires time and persistence. We have to stick with the process and allow God to decide when we have learned all we need to learn.
My husband reminded me this morning that we are ** …labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. ** 1 Corinthians 3:9
Whatever project we undertake, God is with us and working alongside us. We can trust His process and His help to overcome a heart that hurts others with our words. The Lord desires for us to speak with grace and to show others how much He loves them. We can count on Him to help us to learn How to Talk to Others.