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  • Writer's pictureGCI Auckland

Careless words

It is so easy for us to say the wrong thing. The wrong thing at the wrong time. Instead of pearls of wisdom, our words fall like heavy rain drops. They drop into a space of silence, and sit there.... seemingly condemning our insensitivity, our bad timing, our lack of knowledge and wisdom.

Why, we think to ourselves, did I not THINK before I spoke?

Embarrassed, we squirm and think what to do next - Do I rush in and say something else, covering my gaffe? Do I apologise profusely, or brush it off with - "Oh, you know what I mean, I didn't mean it the way it sounds..."? Or, do I just pretend I never said that?

Too often we think more about our own embarrassment and less of the hurt we might have caused with our careless, and yes, even unkind words. While some people will understand our underlying intentions, others can be deeply offended or distressed. The words cannot be unsaid, but a throw-away or flippant apology is not going to fix things. While we can't undo what we said, a sincere apology, without making the wound bigger, is often warranted, although not always accepted.

Sadly, it's often at times of crisis, tragedy, or loss that our insensitive words burst forth without thought. Yet what we should be aiming for is "a word in season."

Isaiah 50, verse 4 says:

The Lord God has given Me The tongue of the learned, That I should know how to speak A word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear To hear as the learned.

What we really want to demonstrate is compassion, wisdom, and sensitivity. We can't do that without being close to God every day. If we aren't close to God, and allowing Him to fill our minds and guide us, we are going to put our foot in our mouths even more than we do now!

Of course, it is sometimes our very personality, our spontaneity, that is a blessing in other circumstances, that can cause us to rush in to say something without thought. Impulsive, we can be quick to act, quick to judge, quick to do anything. That can lead to sometimes being out of tune with what is really needed at the time.

I enjoyed the words of a hymn composed by Ken Bible, the words of which read:

Father, Father, Holy and loving, Forgive, forgive. Father, Father, I am unworthy, Forgive, forgive. You know my thoughts, My anxiousness and pride. You hear my words, So careless and unkind. Create in me A heart that's clean and new. Restore my love, And let me walk with You.

Let us confess our weaknesses, our tendencies to say or do the wrong thing on occasion, and surrender to God. He can renew us, keeping the best parts of our spontaneity with promptings of the Holy Spirit to steer us. So that we can, more often than not, say the right thing at the right time instead.

Confession Hymn by Ken Bible - see LNW Hymns for sheet music, lyrics, and mp3.

Bible translation used is the New King James version - see Bible Gateway

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