• 66°

We’ve all been hurt by the words of others

From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: My longtime co-worker has seemed to turn on me and has become so critical toward me and just about everything that touches her. I don’t think I’ve changed in any significant way so I am perplexed why she is acting so hostile. When I ask her what I’ve done she just says, “You know,” but I really don’t. What does a person do in a situation like this? — H.W.

Dear H.W.: The way in which we react to hurts and disappointments influences the impact we have on others. We’ve all been hurt by the words of others. Perhaps more often than we realize, what was said was simply spoken thoughtlessly or carelessly. But sometimes hurtful words come from others — words meant to sting.
When others criticize us or say something hurtful or insensitive, our first reaction should be to ask ourselves if there is any truth in what they say. If so, we need to be honest with ourselves and ask God to help us correct it. But even if words from others were spoken maliciously, we need to turn our hurts over to God and ask Him to help us respond with forgiveness and grace. We can also use the opportunity to share the love of Christ with those who may have other things in their lives causing hurt. Offer them a Scripture that might help them think differently.
In addition, if we’re honest we have to admit that we sometimes hurt others by our words. We should never excuse it or ignore it, but admit it and seek forgiveness — both from God and from those we’ve hurt. Then we can make the psalmist’s prayer ours: “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3).
————
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)