Please 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.Â Jon is also a writer and blogs daily atÂ Jon Stolpe Stretched. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wonderful wife, Leanne, and their two kids.Â Connect with him onÂ Twitter,Â FacebookÂ or hisÂ blog.
When Words Sting
â€œIf 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.â€ Jon Acuff
Itâ€™s probably happened to all of us at one time or another â€“ 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. Itâ€™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 donâ€™t have anything nice to say, donâ€™t say it at all.
2. Respond in love. â€œA gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.â€ (Proverbs 15:1) When we respond with a gentle answer, we are actually sucking the sting out of the words, and weâ€™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. Letâ€™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. Iâ€™m not perfect. In fact, I have plenty of flaws â€“ 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. Donâ€™t waste the opportunity to become a better person.
5. Move on. Once youâ€™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?
Good stuff…I this is natural for all of us. I think this ingrained in us because it is similar to getting 6 A’s on our report card and one C…guess which one our parents would discuss?
I like the advice!
Great analogy Travis!
The older I get the more I just ignore words that sting. Most people are working from their own perspective and that should not bother me. Sure, I think about the reality. If the words are true, I look at my own behavior. Otherwise, I ignore them. If the person is a repeat offender, I reconsider the relationship.
This can be easier said than done depending on the relationship.
Loved what you shared today Jon, perfect for the Peace Love and Unity theme! I think your Bible verse and suggestions are perfect.
I can be overly sensitive at times, especially being a Words Of Affirmation person, so I can relate to Jon Acuff’s quote. I’ve been a fan of his for years and have read some of his material on handling this. I recall reading an article that he had published on mainstream news media once, reading the comments was quite shocking but included many different points of view.
Let’s face it, if you raise your head above the crowd you’re bound to have critics. I try hard to be reflective and think about how I can gain from the experience. Like Dan suggested above, there are those people who we may have to distance ourselves from, and the Bible shows us how to do that in several places, including dealing with people who look to cause division in our communities (see Titus Chapter 3). I think we have to choose the higher road in these instances and simply love the anyway.
â€œDarkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.â€
â€• Martin Luther King Jr.
In extreme circumstances that I hope you’ll never ever have to deal with, there are civil and even criminal actions that can be pursued. Hopefully the authorities in your community will support you in these efforts if necessary.
Thanks, Chris, for the chance to share on your blog today. I hope it sparks thought and conversation that leads to reconciliation and hope for others.
Praise God, me to Jon. You’re welcome here any time.
I’ve learned that I can not control what others do or say. It’s hard enough, on my best day, to control what I do and say. I have grown to a place where people get a lot of grace with me. I also subscribe to point #3, I go out of my way to spend time with people that encourage and not tear down.
Thanks, Hutch! Blessings to you as well.
These are valuable insights Hutch! Grace is good!
Very good advice, Jon.
There is power in our tongues, we must be careful what we say as well as what we listen too.
I try to take hurtful words to God and allow Him to show me what to learn from and what to ignore- though this isn’t always easy.
Thanks, Chris, for sharing this guest post. God bless you both with a great week!
Thank you TC for adding to the conversation!
I had someone respond in a contrarian way to a tweet this weekend. I had noticed that this person does this all the time. I just don’t have time for that. So, I’m not giving this person any more opportunity to do that on my timeline. I would probably handle it differently if it was someone I really know.
There are all kinds on Twitter, keep surrounding yourself with good people and focused on doing good things Larry! 🙂
I have listened to the 1 negative in a thousand positives for years. It’s been a lifelong struggle and really, I’m way too old for this. Often I struggle with why God made me this way or maybe, I’m just too thick-headed to learn. Never-the-less, I carry on.
Sometimes I think it’s more the evil one coming into play than God, I don’t know just a thought. Thank you for stopping by and sharing David!
“Moving on” is a big one for me. It’s so easy to think and rethink and replay those those words in my head. I find it helpful to talk with a good friend, ask them their opinion about what happened then moved on based on what my friend has said rather than based on the hurtful words I had heard earlier.
Oh yea, the reply problem. I’ve suffered from that one too at times. The Bible encourages us to focus on good things, and in 1 Corinthians 15:33 it says that bad company corrupts good character. You got it right Caleb, stick with the good friends and listen to their comforting words.
#1 and #3 are paramount. We already face enough bad stuff which means if we surround ourselves with bad people then we’re really setting ourselves up for failure. The other side I’d like to add to this is to start giving yourself positive self-talk to repair previous damage. “Better Than Good” by Zig Ziglar is a great resource for this.
Zig is right on the mark, good add David thank you!
Good advice Jon. I remember that people are generally just doing the best they can. That helps me not take other folks’ stinging comments too hard and keeps my own stinging comments from lashing about as much. We’re all just doing the best we can…
An anxious heart weights a man down, but a kind word cheers him up. Proverbs 12:25