Not Discouraged by Discouraging Words

Don’t you find it amazing at times how cruel people can be with their words, especially when you are trying to do the right thing? Unfortunately, it happens all too often. This shouldn’t be a surprise to us in that the Bible tells us that, “The tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. Behold, how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!” – James 3:5. 

You may be one of those persons who use your words to gossip, discourage and tear others down. To you God says, “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” – James 3:6.  This means that mouths that tear down others has its origins not from above, but below.   

What about those who are on the receiving end, how should they respond? How are they to deal with discouraging words? First of all, they are not to lower themselves to the same depths. The Bible says, “He who restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.28 Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is counted prudent.” – Proverbs 17:27-28.  So then, the best thing to do is to respond in the way Christ would.  

This reminded me of a story I read about a man who purchased a paper at a newspaper stand. He greeted the newsman very courteously, but in return received gruff and discourteous service. Accepting the newspaper, which was rudely shoved in his face, the customer politely smiled and wished the newsman a nice weekend. A friend observed all of this and asked, “Does he always treat you so rudely?”

“Yes, unfortunately he does.” “And are you always so polite and friendly to him?” “Yes, I am.” “Why are you so nice to him when he is so rude to you?” “Because I don’t want him to decide how I am going to act.”   That is some good advice.  

Second, you must understand that those who bring words of hurt toward you are not your judge. It is what the Lord thinks that matters most.  When we understand this, then such discouraging words from others become disarmed and unimportant. The Bible says, “The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, but He overthrows the words of the treacherous man.” – Proverbs 22:12.  So don’t be discouraged by discouraging words, take them before the Lord and let Him decide. It is His word that matters most!

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