“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:7-9 ESV
I hope your dog dies. The words weren’t just words. They stung. Like heck. They hurt. Oh how they hurt. I remember vividly those words a little girl spewed at me about 40 years ago. How can I forget? Not that I haven’t forgiven her. Not that I don’t understand we were just little girls, and little girls can say some pretty nasty stuff sometimes. But how could I forget words as venomous as those? I hope your dog dies.
We can pretend words don’t hurt, but we should know better. We can pretend only little girls are mean sometimes, but that’s not true. We can justify ourselves by saying we were having a bad day, or someone deserved the words we spewed at them. Or that our hearts don’t have venom in them toward someone. But we’d be fooling ourselves. Deceiving ourselves. We are all sinners (Rom. 3:10). We all fall short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23). We all think bad stuff about people and say horrible stuff sometimes. Don’t we? Or is God’s love so perfected in us by now that we are perfect little Christ followers? Aren’t we all works in progress?
I wish I could say I’ve never done anything with my mouth, or thought something so nasty in my heart, as that little girl did. But I would be lying. And rather than lie and be in darkness, I’d rather be in the light with God and with my fellow Christ followers who live in the light and confess I have a long way to go. It’s not just other people’s words that hurt; it’s my words also. And words come from what’s in the heart (Luke 6:45). So it’s not just my mouth I need to clean up. It’s my heart. The only place for true purification is in the Lord and in His Word by the washing and cleansing and refining and transformation of His Spirit through beloved Christ.
If you think your words and thoughts don’t matter, if you’re justifying the unloving way you speak to people, If you think God doesn’t know every thought we have and every word we speak, think again. If you think someone 40 years later won’t remember something nasty you said, think again. We were created to love and worship the Lord forever, and to be His humble vessels to help build His Kingdom of followers and to carry and pour out His love to the world all around. Not to pour out nastiness, meanness, words that hurt and wound. Let us repent before God when we need to, receive His forgiveness and mercy, be filled with His Spirit continually, renew our minds with His Word, yield to His transformation, and learn to walk in His ways right down to our hearts and mouths.