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 Click To Tweet
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 Click To Tweet
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.