Remember the old saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"? I've never believed it. When I was young, words hurt me a lot. They crushed me. They still do.
I am getting out of the business of shabby words. I no longer want to be a perpetrator or victim.
But I most definitely am not there yet. Every day, I regret something I say, analyze and over analyze my words, and find myself apologizing for something I said. It is unamusing. Mortality is not over, so my battle continues.
But I don't fret over setbacks. I expect them. Plan on them. And I know what to do when they come along: move on, quickly.
Most of all, I refuse to defend my naked ego—a pitiful little form of myself that inspires no awe.
When I feel defensive—and I often do—I know that I am fighting a losing battle. Why not save my energy for something worthwhile? I accept my weaknesses but I don't cling to them.
You may or may not believe in the existence of the unseen enemies of God. They are real, and our battle with them goes on. They prefer to work anonymously, but when they get desperate, they make the mistake of showing themselves.
They are a bitter, unhappy bunch, driven by the worst motivations. They pursue us with wild-eyed fear. They know their time is short. They will try anything and stop at nothing. They have forgotten decency and honor no boundaries. They feel immorally obligated to tear down, and if they can, destroy, the children of light.
I am familiar with their language. You probably are too. They like us to quote them. In fact, they take fiendish delight when we do. I myself have given their ilk much delight over the years. As time passes, I am more and more aware of their schemes and purposes and how I have been deceived by them.
I know if I say anything in the heat of anger, anything tainted in the least by spite, pride, aggrandizement, or selfishness, that I am serving a puny god.
I work hard not to do it, and if I do, I work hard to correct it and pray for the strength and grace to do so.
I must close for now, but here is another passage that helps me when I give license to the natural man:
I have more to confess on this subject (it occupies my mind) but that must come on another day.Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. . . . Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. (Matthew 12:34–37.)