By Mart De Haan

Out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. —Luke 6:45

Since 1968, the characters in the comic strip The Lockhorns have been exchanging barbs of bitter wit and marital contempt. Currently syndicated in more than 500 newspapers, the cartoon entertains millions of readers as Leroy says things like this to Loretta: “Sure we can talk now. Just don’t stand in front of the television.” Loretta, at no loss for words or jabs, is just as likely to say something like, “Sure I spend more than you make. I have confidence in you.”

While laughing, we might catch a glimpse of ourselves. Sarcasm is all too common, and far more serious than we might want to believe. Heartless sarcasm can be more harmful than physical bruises. Solomon said there are people who use words like a sword (Prov. 12:18), and that evil words can crush the spirit (15:4).

Controlling our speech isn’t easy, because the real problem is not our words but our hearts. Behind the insults, we are likely to find in ourselves an insecurity, fear, or guilt that tempts us to protect ourselves at the expense of another.

Is there an upside to abusive words? No, unless we take them as a warning that we’re not in step with Christ. In His embrace and grace, let’s not lash out at one another in an effort to protect ourselves.

Instead of hurling angry words
That wound and stir up strife,
Use words of kindness, filled with love,
That heal and nourish life. —Sper

Abusive language reveals a sinful heart.

Devotional forwarded to you by:


NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC


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