No One Likes a Verbal Biter

I walked away from a conversation massaging my injured feelings. I felt like the victim of a dozen papercuts. Replaying the conversation offered no insight. What had triggered my friend’s barbs?

Another friend said her family member calls to say how much she loves her. But by the end of the call my friend feels physically sick from the words she’s ingested.

Paul wrote, “But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another” (Gal. 5:15 NLT).

A bite-sized treat is small. Yet, small bites add up. The tiny bites I take to make a dessert last eventually devour the whole dessert. Bites on a human heart add up and devour too.

We bite with our mouths. Proverbs 18:21 says “The tongue can bring death or life” (NLT).

Biting words wound the soul. Critical remarks and mocking laughs are just a couple of ways we nip at each other.

Biting words wound the soul. Critical remarks and mocking laughs are just a couple of ways we nip at each other. #relationships #hope Share on X

Bites happen within the family and within the family of God. We tend to show less restraint in holding back reproaches with the people we love most. Knowing the person who wounded me loves me doesn’t remove the sting.

Strong’s Concordance says the word devour metaphorically means to ruin by inflicting injuries. These injuries stir up strong emotions which consume the strength of one’s body and mind.

My friend’s bites made me want to withdraw from her. Biters destroy peace, freedom, and openness. They ruin the fellowship of believers and separate family members. We can’t open our hearts and guard them at the same time. Biters destroy heart connections.

We can’t open our hearts and guard them at the same time. Biters destroys heart connections. #relationships Share on X

Hope for the Biter and the Bitten

But we are not left without hope. Paul continues:

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16 NASB).

The Holy Spirt provides the self-control and kindness we need to harness our biting words and the wisdom to know when we need to put distance between us and a biter. Dogs that bite aren’t allowed to play with other dogs or children.

Did the Spirit remind you of someone from whom you need to ask forgiveness or a biter you need to lovingly confront or put a little distance (Lev. 19:17-18)?

Words have as much power to heal as they do to destroy. Let’s submit to the Holy Spirit and use ours wisely.

Comment here.


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#InspireMeMonday, #InstaEncouraements, #TellHisStory and here , #Let’sHaveCoffee#Recharge Wednesday, #Grace&Truth,

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  1. Ann Musico

    It’s amazing how much damage can be inflicted by a carelessly spoken word.

    • Debbie Wilson

      I know. I’ve said them and received them. We need the Holy Spirit to guard our lips!

  2. Kim Henry

    My favorite part: “We can’t open our hearts and guard them at the same time.” So true!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thanks, Kim. 🙂

  3. Jeannie Waters

    Debbie, your post is a strong reminder of the power of our words. I talk a lot, sometimes without thinking before I speak. I often ask God to set a guard over my lips and help me speak edifying words. The Scripture and examples you chose will make a lasting impression to help us honor God and bless others with our speech.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Jeannie, how many times have I wished I’d bitten my tongue instead of speaking?

  4. Janis Van Keuren

    Thank you for your thoughtful and thought-provoking words. May our hearts and words heal each other, especially if they have wounded another.

    I’m commenting from “Inspire Me Monday.”


    • Debbie Wilson

      Amen, Janis! Thanks for dropping by. I hope you’ll come again.

  5. Annie Yorty

    Debbie, I think we all succumb to biting at times. Thanks for offering hope. God has given us the power to overcome our fleshly tendencies. Great post!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Annie, I failed too many times. This verse really made me stop and consider how I use my tongue.

  6. J.D. Wininger

    Each day I pray God “guards my mouth”, and yet I realize that some days He needs a bigger muzzle for me. Thank you for reminding me that we are all a Work In Progress and that sanctification for Christians is a lifelong journey.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Me too, J.D. I’m thankful He’s promised to finish what He started in me!

  7. Barbara Latta

    Your post reminded me of my dog. He is small so he is at eye level of a person’s ankles. If a stranger walks into our house, I have to hold him until the dog gets to know the person. We can sometimes nip and bite at people because we try to protect ourselves even if we don’t know what we are protecting ourselves from. Fear grows and then controls us. We do need to abide in the words Paul wrote from God and take care that we don’t devour each other.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Barbara, your dog is a great illustration. Even ankle nips hurt. And sometimes we bite because we’re fearful.

  8. Yvonne Morgan

    Thank you for reminding me to keep a watch over my words. They really can do so much damage.

    • Debbie Wilson

      They certainly can. Thanks, Yvonne.

  9. Donna Reidland

    Words definitely can have great power in our lives to do good or to harm. May we seek to use our own words wisely and lovingly and be discerning when it comes to those around us.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Amen! Thanks, Donna.

  10. Lisa notes

    Yes, those little bites DO add up. No one wants to be on the end of a string of either large or small biting words. 🙁 May we all be more gentle with our words and bring more love into the world instead of pain. Great post, Debbie.

    • Debbie Wilson

      They do sting and harm. Thanks, Lisa. I want to guard my tongue.

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