Verbal Abuse

“Can’t you do anything right?”; “Well I should have guessed that you would mess this up”;; I wondered just how dumb you were”

These statements provide examples of verbal abuse. Verbal abuse can take the form of threats, and insults or comments that seem like jokes, but hurt. Verbal abuse in any relationship can leave emotional scars. Verbal abuse may appear more subtle than other kinds of abuse but it can do just as much damage.

Verbal abuse can happen in any relationship. Parents can abuse children. one spouse in a marriage can abuse the other spouse. Adult children can abuse elderly parents. Although men are more likely to abuse their wives physically , women can and do abuse their husbands. Abuse of any kind arises out of a desire for power and control. Because of the control, the victim may need help in breaking the cycle.

What you say and what you don’t say are both important. Proper speech is not only saying the right words at the right time, but also controlling the desire to say what you shouldn’t
James admonishes us with these words” People can tame and already have tamed every kind of animal. bird,reptile and fish. No one can tame the tongue , though. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we both bless the Lord and Father and curse human beings made in God’s likeness.
Blessing and curses come from the same mouth; my brothers and sisters it just shouldn’t be this way”

James used a series of creative metaphors to make his point about the damage the tongue can do. Controlling the tongue compares to bridling a horse; steering a ship; putting out a forest fire and domesticating wild animals.

Churches can suffer serious harm from a poor choice of words. Gossip can destroy a persons reputation. One temper tantrum can wreck a Sunday School class, a committee or a whole church. James reminds us of the wisdom of Proverbs 17:28: “fools who keep quiet are deemed wise; those who shut their lips are smart” We are told by James that the tongue expresses what comes from within us. It actually reveals the undisciplined emotions of our hearts

Some questions for reflection:
When have you seen bad speech hurt a family, a class, a church?
What can you do heal such situations?
What do you consider the root cause of temper tantrums, angry speech and gossip?
How can we stand up to hate speech and words to intimidate others?
Take time to read James 3: 1-12 and reflect on what he is saying. We all need a lesson in elevating our faith by allowing God to discipline our speech……..Amen


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