The other day I told my husband he is the “biggest idiot in the world” (ahh the blissful married life we have!) I don’t remember what he did that provoked such a hyperbole (I get so eloquent when I’m angry, don’t I?) He could have made a loud noise when the baby was sleeping or dirtied something again — something, anything which was not what *I* want and not what pleases *me*. And I let rip.
I knew that the words hurtling out of my mouth were mean. And that was exactly WHY I wanted to say it — I wanted to hurt, to upset, to demean. There were kinder ways to respond to my husband but did I care? Did I care that God would have wanted me to respond in those kinder ways? No. I was unhappy with my husband and I was gonna let him know that in no uncertain terms.
And when I speak like this, I am no different from the serpent who asked Eve: “Did God really say…” (Genesis 3:1-13) He challenged the authority of God by misleading Eve to think that she can be God-like; I challenge the authority of God by speaking as if I am God and what I want is the final word. Ever since the serpent spoke those words, not one of us have spoken all our words in perfect submission to God. Therein lies the heart of our war with words.
Paul Tripp explains: “Many of the problems we experience when talking with one another emerge from the fact that we have usurped the authority of God: we say what we want to say, when and how we want to say it. We speak as if we are in charge and as if we have the right to use words to advance our purpose and to achieve what would make us happy. We speak as if we were God rather than his creatures, called to submit his authority in every idle word we speak.”
I speak maybe 10,000 words a day (nowadays you can include text messages, facebook and email too). It’s a scandal how little I submit to God in that avalanche of words. Thank God that Jesus Christ has already lived a perfect life on my behalf and died for me to pay for my sin. While I struggle to change the way I speak, I know I’m not struggling for acceptance, but striving for transformation!