It’s incredible how words can affect us, and how often we might not consider the impact of those utterances and combination of sounds that come from our own mouths. The literal meaning of sarcasm in Greek is “tearing of flesh,” which gives us a raw picture of how words, when spoken with bitterness or acrimony, can be as harmful as sharp daggers. The Bible tells us that our tongues are the hardest part of body to control, and that no one can tame the tongue.


Ever been the recipient of harsh words? Ever had your flesh torn by someone’s thoughtless or hateful words?


I had this happen at work, where someone thought that I was “wasting my talent” working in my position. I write this now with a much calmer mind, and I now see how she didn’t mean the harm that she inevitably caused. With just that word, “wasting,” my heart shriveled up and I could feel my ears turning red. I got my cup of tea and briskly walked away.


I’ve struggled with this for months: why am I working in a position that “seems” so lowly?


Recently, I’ve understood this as God’s instruction for me to carve out a servant’s heart and attitude, so that I can do anything regardless of the job title or the position or prestige. Yet, with that sudden statement, “why are you wasting your talent,” I cringed out of embarrassment and, I’ll admit, anger.


It’s hard to have a godly attitude at work when you’re doing something that hurts your pride, but that’s precisely why God’s got you in that position. If you’re pride’s been wounded, bruised, and downright run over, there’s probably a good reason. Perhaps God is trying to teach us humility and how to serve, instead of being boastful and taking the service from others.


We all know this: God’s got a map for our lives, and we need to believe that He’s got our best interests in mind when he places us in places. My position is no different. Although I may struggle with pride when I encounter statements like that, I need to cling to my Rock and my Saviour!


Yes, I feel under-valued and under-paid, and over-educated and over-qualified. But who am I to question God? I’m here for a season, not an eternity. People will always gossip about others, and that’s something we can’t change. People will say the cruelest things about people without any care or consideration. But if we’re on the Rock, we know that we’re on solid ground. These people will only be in our lives for a brief moment. Indeed, their words hurt us, cut deeply into us. But God’s the one who protects us and heals us.


Most important is our ability to forgive the person (or people) whose mouth the words came from. I realized this as I prayed and prayed for a peaceful heart at my desk. I think the peace can’t come unless we’ve forgiven the person. Am I not also capable of saying those very words? Have I not also said harmful words to someone before? Of course I have, and that’s why we all need forgiveness.


“…and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.  And don’t let us yield to temptation.” Luke 11:4