Speaking recklessly is like the thrusts of a sword, but the words of the wise bring healing. – Proverbs 12:18
1 Samuel 1:5-18
5 [Elkanah] loved Hannah, but the LORD had not enabled her to have children.
6 Her rival would taunt Hannah and make fun of her because the LORD had kept her from having children.
7 Year after year it was the same she would taunt Hannah as they went to the Tabernacle. Each time, Hannah would be reduced to tears and would not even eat.
10 She, greatly distressed, prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly.
11 And she made this vow: “O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the LORD, his hair will never be cut.”
12 As she was praying to the LORD, Eli watched her.
13 Seeing her lips moving but hearing no sound, he thought she had been drinking.
15 “Oh no, sir!” she replied. “I haven’t been drinking wine or anything stronger. But I am very discouraged, and I was pouring out my heart to the LORD.
16 Don’t think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.”
17 “In that case,” Eli said, “go in peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.”
18 “Oh, thank you, sir!” she exclaimed. Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad.
In September 2015, Dr. Sandra D. Wilson wrote Hurt People Hurt People: Hope and Healing for Yourself and Your Relationships. “Dr. Sandy Wilson knows why people hurt, where they hurt, and how to heal those hurts. She gets right to the heart of these matters in her very insightful and provocative book. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to break free from the bondage of unhealed personal hurts” (Dr. Chris Thurman, author of The Lies We Believe).
“‘Hurt people hurt people’ is more than a clever phrase; it’s a sad truth. Hurt people hurt others because they themselves have been hurt. And each one of us has been hurt to one degree or another. As that damage causes us to become defensive and self-protective, we may lash out at others. Hurting becomes a vicious cycle” (From the Back Cover).
Who has not been cut by taunting, cruel, demeaning words? Most of us have been bruised emotionally by mean, spiteful, hurtful, mocking, thoughtless words. A smaller number perhaps have experienced physical bruises.
Physical bruises fade. Unkind words bruise deeply and are long-lasting. They may reverberate throughout a lifetime. Self-doubt, even self-hate are their offspring.
Hannah lived in a culture, where the worth of the woman was tied to her offspring. Women who had many children were valued and well thought of. While those with few or none, not so much. Elkanah, her husband was an exceptional man. He not only loved her as she was, he loved her even more and gave her special attention because she was childless. But even his kindness, gentleness and compassion could not take away the pain of childless life.
REFLECT & PRAY
Hurt people, hurt people!
Father thank You that You understand me and are there for me to calm my spirit and soothe my bruised emotions. How I long to recover from the emotional scars of a lifetime.
32 At Meribah, too, they angered the LORD, causing Moses serious trouble.
33 They made Moses angry, and he spoke foolishly.
His ill-advised words haunted him for the rest of his life. Like any of us, Moses lost his temper and blurted out words he should have never spoken. Because he was the Father’s chosen spokesman and leader, he was held to a higher standard than most.
The Hebrew word bata is translated speak rashly, recklessly, or thoughtlessly. It is impetuous speech that does not consider the negative consequences. In colloquial English we would say: “his words went right through me,” “her words cut me to the quick,” or even “their words killed me” (Waltke). They are “words that are spoken too quickly and without adequate thought. These hasty words are compared with sword thrusts, which are quick jabs made with a sword” (UBS). “A sword, the battle instrument designed and used for killing, symbolizes intentional, insensitive slaughter” (Waltke).
Bata is used of the hasty and unadvised speech that Moses expressed in his anger at the waters of Meribah.
Proverbs 12:18 Speaking recklessly is like the thrusts of a sword, but the words of the wise bring healing.
Each of us has the power to hurt or to heal. Our words either pierce like a sword which punctures, cuts, and maims, or they provide a healing, calming, and a restorative balm.
Too often rash words are spoken without adequate thought and control or consideration of the outcome. They can never be taken back.
But God can help us break that cycle. He offers His healing and hope:
- Hope that we will see more clearly how God can use our wounding experiences for good
- Hope that our scars will one day sing the praises of our living and loving Savior, even as we embrace the reality of choice, change, and transformation
- Hope that sees in the fragments of broken lives the reflection and triumph of Jesus’s empty tomb (From the Back Cover)
The Lord Jesus Christ is the only all-sufficient healer for hurt people. The Father has chosen to graciously use people as His instruments of healing.
Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt
Proverbs 15:4 A soothing tongue is a tree of life, but perversion in it crushes the spirit.
Each child of the King has the ability to take a moment and reflect on how to respond. Our words can be gracious, kind, and attractive. Or they can be cruel, hurtful, and destructive. The choice is ours.