Let’s be real. We can make each other feel terrible. I’ve done it; so have you. And it’s been done to us. The idea that ‘no one can make you feel anything’ is part of the current pop-psychology that has infiltrated the church, to the degree that we’ve become both careless and callous. Don’t get me wrong; I love psychology; I’m a student of it. But for it to have any practical value, it has to be realistic. We hurt people. And anyone who has suffered through verbal abuse knows the destructive power of words. Especially verbal abuse from a spiritual authority. Scripture is clear: our words can do a lot of damage. In fact, it goes so far as to say that not only our words, but even our tone of voice- the way we say things- can be hurtful. Words burrow into the back of our minds like well-placed arrows; we hear them over and over again. One thoughtless, careless remark can undo the whole healing process and necessitate starting all over again. Gossip destroys trust; arguments spin out of control, and relationships end. When we can’t attack someone physically, we do it verbally. And we know we’re hurting them. The fact is, we absolutely can make each other feel sad, mad, happy, scared, worthless. Our words bless, or curse; they bring healing, or cause pain. We hurt each other. We damage each other. And to add insult to injury, rather than apologizing, and taking responsibility for our words, we flaunt our ‘I can’t make you feel anything’ attitude. We are so smug in our little christian world sometimes.
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6