– This is a Feature Guest article by Matt C. –
Careless and cutting comments can occur in the blink of an eye. They can alter the atmosphere wounding your spouse, your child, your co-worker and your witness for Jesus Christ. We often hurt the ones who are most connected to the faith that we espouse. Once our tongue has drawn the string back on the bow and released the arrow, it’s irrevocable. Like a slow-motion tragedy we watch as the arrow falls from mid-air and strikes the heart of the people we care about. Whether intended or unintended, a target has been hit.
For the man who wisely monitors his words, there is a certain stomach-aching sick regret that falls upon him. It is a common ailment that is best classified as the “post-I’ve blown my witness for Christ” syndrome. It usually emerges in the minutes and hours that follow a verbal falling.
Those moments that follow the verbal failing are critical. We will have a choice to act quickly and humbly and handle the casualties we’ve caused. Then there is the alternative to do nothing. However, doing nothing to undo our offense can place us in dangerous waters. You see, the offender and the offended are now floating like a bleeding man in an ocean full of sharks. Those sharks are the dark spiritual forces—the lurking spirits that attempt to annihilate the heart, to isolate and overcome the man. If the heart of the man fails to lay hold to the truth, rescue will be difficult and he will surely be surrounded and overtaken.
Then there are the casualties, the others in the water with us that are in need of rescue as well. Those relationships—the ones who took our arrow will remain injured, as a result of our words. Until we reconcile, those unintended targets occupy those same spiritual waters we are attempting to exit. Those same sharks that are on to your blood trail are following theirs too. The sharks do not discriminate between the offender and the offended and care little about who they’ll attack first. Sharks do what they do, they seek blood, they surround, they attack and they feast until there is nothing left.
Anytime we, as men, inflict or sustain a heart injury, we unwittingly allow hell an opportunity to operate. Our enemy the devil dispatches his sharks in the form of whispered lies; he assaults the heart and tries to keep things stirring inside of you. This enemy hopes to have you accept a lie, focus on the lie, stew on the lie and ultimately alter your heart’s belief or identity in order to stifle reconciliation. Success for our enemy, the devil, is when he achieves disunity and plants a seed. This is why our heart, soul and mind must be prepared for the battle—ready to defend the heart and the hearts of others at all cost.
In our marriages, we often forget that the husband and wife each carry this often overlooked weapon into the relationship. It is a common denominator in most of the domestic issues we encounter. It is the tongue. The tongue is a very unique weapon indeed. It is easy to carry, easy to conceal, easy to arm and easy to shoot—but considerably dangerous.
The good news is that the tongue has the power to build up, protect and strengthen a marriage, when deployed responsibly and with love. As a married man of faith, I’m conscious of the need to defend my family from the spiritual sniper attacks–especially on my marriage relationship. I take serious the enemy’s attempts to assault the hearts of my wife and children. Assaults on our marriage seek to disrupt the spiritual atmosphere in our homes and cause division.
So imagine, if-you-will, how much more difficult it is to deal with those “friendly fire” incidents. The “friendly fire” incidents are the ones usually perpetrated by a spouse, inside of the safe zone, where the armor is off and is hanging up for tomorrow’s external battles. Right? Unfortunately we make the mistake of operating our weapons improperly or irresponsibly indoors—within the walls of our place of refuge. People get hurt, deeply hurt, weakening the strength of the team tasked with defending each other from all external spiritual threats foreign and domestic.
Men, our marriages can become like armies that kill their own wounded, if we’re not careful. I plead guilty to the charge above. Looking back, I’ve participated in some very brutal treatment of my spouse and some people I love dearly. I’ve made comments that I’d be embarrassed to have shown in a public forum of my peers. In fact, I’d love to have some of my thoughts and words retracted from life’s record. My conviction and frustration with my own spiritual immaturity can be overwhelming at times. How can a man, who has pledged to lay down his life for his wife, his children and his brothers in Christ, say such terrible things? Well, as the old Sunday school song goes, He’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be. This is a lifelong process—be patient, be humble.
It is the epic battle with the flesh, which can only be won through submission to Jesus Christ and the power of His Holy Spirit that seeks to harness this undisciplined mind and body. As we yield control to our Father God, his Holy Spirit takes control of us, eliminating much of the hurt and pain that a “Spirit-less” life without self-control can inflict. So, before you shoot from the lip, invite the work of the Holy Spirit in to examine the meditations of your heart and words of your mouth to ensure that Christ is exalted and relationships are strengthened. Here are 6 ways you raise up Christ and build stronger relationships with your words this week!
- Speak life this week
- Reconcile early and often
- Recognize when the sharks are lurking
- Help pull bleeding men and women from the spiritual waters
- Don’t give up on your spouse, even if they’re drowning
- Pray for your spouse
What is one way God has taught you to tame your tongue in your marriage or everyday relationships?