The careless words of others can wound deeply. If we’re unprepared for the unkind words of others, we can be shocked by those closest to us. Unkind speech finds us all, but we have the privilege of responding in love.
Picture this: an individual says something unkind, sees your response, and feigns innocence at the reaction their words garnered. Do you recognize the following defensive tactics?
“What?” As in, What did I say that you don’t like? or What are you so upset about? Before you react negatively, remember, you don’t know the exact translation of her “What?” but she’s given you a perfect opportunity to respond in love. Answer her truthfully. Kindly explain why her words offended you.
“You’re too sensitive.” This is a classic response from someone who doesn’t want to take responsibility for his words. This person would rather choke to death than let an apology cross his lips. Unfortunately, there are those who think apologizing is a sign of weakness. Show him that’s not the case. “I’m sorry you feel that way, but you need to know, your words really hurt me.”
Regardless of how others use their words, you are responsible for your speech and actions. Scripture says if you’ve been offended, go to your brother and tell him. Make it a priority. Don’t let your hurts fester.
Finally, forgive. We need forgiveness for our many tresspasses, so we must be quick to forgive to those who offend us.