The power of our words is greater than we ever can imagine or grasp. Proverbs 18: 21 states: Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. I also read the above verse in the Amplified Bible. It adds [for life or death] at the end indicating that when we speak life and love it we will eat the fruit of life and if we speak death and love it we will eat the fruit of death. Toxic words will always produce toxic fruit and life-giving words bring forth life and good fruit.
I physically experienced the effects of a toxin in June because of an allergic reaction to a medication which led to the need for another medication to counter act the first. This in turn led to a case of sun poisoning due to the second medication creating hypersensitivity to the sun and hives that continued for three weeks. Shortly after recovering from the physical object lesson, I encountered another one, this time in the realm of the mind and emotions. In the matter of minutes, a discussion escalated quickly and toxic words were hurled my direction because I expressed the Constitutional right of disagreeing parties to speak their opinion freely. Unfounded and unconfirmed assumptions were made that I sided with a specific side and now I was the enemy. It was a great object lesson on the power of words for me. Even when we do our best to be life-giving and affirming in our words, they can be misjudged and used against us. It is then we find ourselves at a crossroad, we can choose to continue to speak life, walk away, or we can choose to become toxic. It is our choice to make and we need to make that choice based not on what the other person is doing to us but on the type of person we want to be.
It is so easy to meet criticism with criticism; anger with anger; and all those other negative emotions with venom. The truth is we are called to a much higher standard as believers. I love the quote,’ God never said it would be easy, He said it would be worth it.” It is worth every ounce of strength and determination it takes to give a gentle answer when one is attacked. It may not seem so at the time but the long term benefit and the fruit outweigh the momentary satisfaction of self-defense. We might be wise to consider the validity despite the toxic delivery, pray for wisdom where it is concerned and also it is important for us to remember that the person who insults, slanders, or harms us is not just hurting us. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit and we are God’s kids! If they are messing with us they are messing with God! When the children of Israel were in the Wilderness, God made it clear to Moses that they were not really grumbling against Moses but were grumbling against God, Himself. Only God knows the motives of our hearts or the heart of others. He is the only judge. Keeping this in mind is one way to guard our heart, avoid offense and keep our words filled with life.