Screen shot 2013-09-22 at 5.39.46 PMPlease join me in welcoming Jon Stolpe today. I don’t read a whole lot of blogs now, but I do subscribe to Jons and look forward to reading it every morning. Jon is a very gifted writer who is passionate about small groups, missions, family, marriage, parenting, and Philadelphia sports.  Jon is also a writer and blogs daily at Jon Stolpe Stretched. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wonderful wife, Leanne, and their two kids.  Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or his blog.

When Words Sting

“If I get a 1,000 compliments and one insult, guess which one I listen to? The insult, of course. I have an unbelievable ability to ignore a swarm of positive words and camp out on the one negative.” Jon Acuff

Screen shot 2013-09-23 at 6.56.52 AMIt’s probably happened to all of us at one time or another – someone says something to us that absolutely stings.

Maybe they call you names. Maybe they are just rude. Maybe they insult you.

Words can hurt!

Words can sting!

Words can leave a gash on our hearts!

So how can we respond when this happens? How can we move past the pain of words?

Here are a five suggestions to get you thinking:

1. Stop the cycle. It’s easy to respond back with another insult or another name. Resist the urge for verbal revenge. It only keeps things going. It only makes things worse. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.

2. Respond in love. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1) When we respond with a gentle answer, we are actually sucking the sting out of the words, and we’re showing others a better way to respond. Our responsibility as Christ followers is to point people to Christ. People will know we are Christians by our love and NOT by our anger.

3. Surround yourself with people who will build you up. Let’s face it. The world can be a cruel place. People are rushing around trying to get ahead of the next person even if it means walking over someone. Find people who have your back. Meet with them regularly. Encourage one another. Spur each other on.

4. Learn. I’m not perfect. In fact, I have plenty of flaws – and so do you. When someone insults you, look inside. Are they pointing out one of your flaws? Is there any truth to what they are saying about you? If there is some truth to what they said about you, take the opportunity to change. Don’t waste the opportunity to become a better person.

5. Move on. Once you’ve taken the steps above, you need to move on. Dwelling on stinging words will only drag you down and make you a bitter person. This may mean the end of a relationship, or it may require new boundaries related to a relationship that has brought you pain. You have to keep your chin up, your feet moving, and your face smiling.

How do you deal with words that sting? What step do you need to take today to get past wounds that have been caused by words?