By Mary Lindow
This message just"might" hit close to home.
I have been thinking a lot this week about arrogance and those finger pointing individuals who enjoy belittling others and simply love to be plain old snarky. Just look at the headlines of newspapers, Internet news and gossip columns! With the stroke of a key or two, words written imply things that can break hearts, ruin trust, hope, National Security and relationships.
THERE IS SUCH A HARSH STING TO THE HEART
WHEN THE CRUEL WORDS OF SOMEONE ELSE INTENTIONALLY
DOES A VERBAL SLAP DOWN OR SHAMES YOU.
Usually it occurs when THEY believe that THEY are absolutely right or have "superior" knowledge, and that others are the "lesser" and are the "wrong- big- dummies".
This mean and sour arrogance, which uses power to belittle or harm others, is something that crushes and cripples hearts and dreams. It's a secret and deep seething storm inside of the soul of those who feel they have rights and superior thinking that justifies weaponizing words. Yes... Weaponizing!
Words can deliver pinpoint missiles of pain, threats, ridicule, humiliation, subtle undertones of condescension but can also deliver payloads of healing, warmth, gratitude, encouragement, and above all, Hope.
As a believer, our faith should not be arrogant, nor should a person of faith belittle others! We should never use our faith or intelligence to pretend that we are superior or more informed than others! NO! NEVER!
Belittling is a form of bullying! It's when someone makes you feel as though you are little, minuscule, not good enough.
Proverbs 11:17 says,"Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel".
Arrogance is the opposite of humility, and humility is supposed to be a Christian virtue. Jesus Christ who, in coming into the world and living and dying alongside of us, lived out what humility is.
You will never reach the place of honor or full use by the Heavenly Father, (and can actually be disqualified from many opportunities) until your insecurities and need to needle, belittle, compete with, or shame others is addressed, repented of and buried! And, when mentioning, reaching a place of honor I'm referring to this as honor before the face and rule of God.
If your goals in life are to have men honor you first...
...You will be one who certainly tramples others with your words.
Those who have the sickness of pride in their hearts, speak of others weakness and sins with contempt, irritation, frustration, or judgment. Pride is crouching inside of your meanness and belittling of the struggles of others.
It's cowering in your jokes about the "craziness" of your spouse, the mocking of that "too sensitive friend". It may even be lurking in the prayers we throw upward for our friends that are "subtly or not" often tinted with the color of exasperated irritation.
Listen to Proverbs 15:4 from The Message translation.
"Kind words heal and help;
Cutting words wound and maim."
Sometimes, we use sarcasm to voice harsh, or cutting words we otherwise would not say, often intentionally hurting others. Once the pain is inflicted however, we retreat, saying, "Oh, I was just kidding!" But the sting of those words hurts so much that those we have injured, withdraw.
Our words don't feel like jokes at all.
Jesus' words should be a warning to those of us who are tempted to use sarcasm as a weapon:
"But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken". -Matthew 12:36
SARCASTIC REMARKS USUALLY SEEM LIKE NO BIG DEAL
TO THE PERSON WHO MAKES THEM.
BUT TO THE RECIPIENT, THOSE WORDS MAKE LASTING IMPRESSIONS
THAT SCAR TO THE VERY CORE OF THE HEART.
Many times, sarcasm shames a person, causing them to feel belittled and unworthy. When shame takes root in the heart, it can cause disastrous behavior, because the person now feels worthless and seeks desperately to find anything that will make them feel otherwise.
Shaming others is a serious offense with serious consequences.
Jesus said, "Your very words will be used as evidence against you,
and your words will declare you either innocent or guilty."
Are your words kind and constructive?
Do they desire to seek peace and unity, or are they driven by your fleshy desire to sting, aggravate, retaliate, tease, belittle, control, alienate, shame and manipulate through sarcasm? YES ... alllll of those HURT PEOPLE!
The enemy is camping out at the gate of your every relationship. Children, spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, parents, co-laborers and more. He is lurking around every corner, seeking to find that one open crevice where he can enter. If he has been entering in and camping out in your home or relationships through the use of sarcasm, it's time to boot this verbal enemy out and lock the gate behind him.
Die to your need to be snarky and always the one with a chirpy sarcastic comeback! Allow Christ to show you His ways that love, peace and compassion can be the source of every word that proceeds from your mouth.
"All of you, clothe yourselves with humility towards one another,
because, 'God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.
Humble yourself then! Bow low under God's mighty hand,
that he may use you to the fullest at the proper time.
-1 Peter 5:56
Prayer of Brokenness and Confession
(I Highly recommend praying this out loud.)
Holy and All seeing Father God,
I confess now to You, that I do not always love my neighbor.
I confess that I have despised others, even to the point of hatred.
I confess that I have been hurt by others.
I confess that forgiveness and reconciliation at times are just impossible for us.
I realize that I have spoken words that have broken people or have humiliated them and although asking for forgiveness, they have distanced themselves from me, and rightly so because they don't want to take any more of my unkind words.
Father I ask you to heal them from the things that I have said that caused broken and crushed spirits.
Restore them; bring them Friends that will treat them kindly.
I know that nothing is impossible in You.
So, I come to You, seeking healing and wholeness for myself.
Heal whatever is inside of me that needs to speak poorly of others, or to speak down to others.
Show me the parts of me that are insecure or needy.
Help me, whenever possible, to live in peace with others, to seek reconciliation and healing and forgiveness.
For Your Son Jesus came and lived among us, and was betrayed and denied, abused and put to death.
Yet, He rose again, and came with the message of peace to those who had denied Him and abandoned Him.
Oh Father! May I walk in His ways and model His kindness in my speech and actions.
I pray this in Jesus' loving name.
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