Mar 3, 2014

Someone Else's Words

Have you lost your way or fallen down, confidence wounded by someone else’s words?

Or maybe you’re walking boldly forward, full of confidence because of someone else’s words.

Either way, have you let someone else’s words overshadow God’s truth about who you are?

I did.

Last week, I allowed the words and actions of just one person to knock me smack down on my butt, afraid to get back up again. I felt bruised, hurt, and insignificant. I momentarily forgot all the words of encouragement and positive feedback from others.

Most importantly, I forgot God’s truth about me. My confidence shifted from Christ alone, to Christ plus the words of others.

I asked for prayer – I could not get up on my own. 

The Lord answered. He whispered this scripture reference to me: James 2:1-11. The title of that section: Favoritism Forbidden. Before I even read one word of the passage, I knew the Lord’s message to me.

Mary, you put that person on a pedestal that is Mine alone. Because of their position, accomplishments, and ability, you forgot they are just another person like you. You allowed their opinion and actions to matter way too much.

You trusted in man more than you believed and trusted in Me.

Wow, yes, I sure did! I also realized that if they had given me great praise, I would have hung on to their every word and kept seeking more. Either way, their words do not define me…but I allowed them that power.

Then I read the passage, and these verses leapt off the page:

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. (James 2:8-9 NIV)

By showing favoritism, I sinned – I broke the law of love. How can I love anyone when I’m focused inward on how I’m feeling and what their opinion means to me? And how can I love them when I don’t allow the Lord’s truth to fill me with His confidence?

Lord, please forgive me. And please bless that person, heal them, and fill them with more of You.

I wish I could say I bounced right back up and kept on going. But (sigh), it takes a while to process through feelings and emotions – you know, that human thing – and fully forgive and receive forgiveness. Covered by the prayers of others, and God’s truth and love through those prayers, I’m getting there one day at a time, one step at a time.

Whether praise or criticism, whether given or received, words have power so we need to use them carefully.

But no matter how they are used, someone else’s words should never overshadow God’s truth.  

I’m sure I’ll be hurt again by someone else’s words. And I’m sure my words will sometimes hurt others. When that happens, I’ll remember this lesson, seek God’s truth, and get back up.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE: In what situation have you allowed someone else’s words mean more than God’s truth about you?  I’d love to hear your experiences, and how this post may have helped you.


  1. Oh yes, I've been there, too. And I'm sure I'll be there you said, it's the human in us. But I so want to depend on His love, His acceptance, and His words only! Yes, we must live and work together, we must strive to be encouragers, not discouragers, and we must take wise counsel from those who hold us accountable, But we must always remember, our value rests in who HE thinks we are.

    And He thinks we're worth dying for.

    1. Thank you for this reminder, Vonda, that we need each other and we need to be teachable! One of the many ways God speaks to us IS through others so we need to be willing to listen. Then, as my pastor once said, "eat the meat and spit out the bones". My problem is that I often spit out the meat and try to digest the bones, depending on who is speaking and how I feel about myself in that area.
      But hey, that's a whole other post for another day :-).
      Thank you again for your comment!

  2. Naw, that's never happened to me! No, not really. Unfortunately its happened more than I care to admit/confess. Thank you the scriptural/Godly perspective. I never would have equated it with favoritism on my own. Thank you for sharing what was, initially, a painful experience. Robin

    1. Thank you for your comment, Robin - I'm glad it helped you. Now, if we can only remember this when we need it :-).

  3. Remember when we were children, and we would sing-song the saying "sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"? Who were we kidding? We knew better then and we know better now. Thank you for drawing us back to the source so that we may find healing for our wounds. But it's also a reminder to be more mindful of our words and how we use them. Blessings.

    1. Amen, Tina! We definitely need to guard our own words, and also be aware when we sense someone else giving *us* favoritism. Thank you for your comment and encouragement!

  4. "But (sigh), it takes a while to process through feelings and emotions – you know, that human thing – and fully forgive and receive forgiveness." - this part of your blog jumped right off the page to me. It does indeed take a while to do the human part. Its important to allow ourselves - and others - the time and space for that to happen. As a speaker I find myself often in the place you described. I can speak to 100 people and get 93 positive written reviews, 6 people who said nothing and 1 negative review and guess which one I will focus on???? But then again even if I focused on the 93 positive ones, that would still be the wrong place to focus. As Vonda said we need to be teachable and learn from each other, but learning from others is not the same as giving their words the weight of God's words. Thanks for the always timely message

    1. Sue, are we related? I can't tell you how many emotional roller coasters I've been on due to the words of others, positive and negative. At work, at church, about my writing, even about this blog ("wow, YES, I got comments, excellent""was it that bad, no one commented, bummer").
      Great comment about allowing time. Being goal oriented and logical, and coming from a background of stuffing emotions, "allowing time and space" just for emotions has always been difficult. I'm learning to do that without allowing them to control my actions toward others.
      Thank you for your comments and encouragement! I look forward to meeting you sometime.

  5. One person in particular attacked me with his words for years, lies from Satan that I believed as truth. It took a long time for God to convince me that I am precious and beautiful and chosen by Him. dark moments, I let those lies creep in. Like you said, it's the human in us. I'm learning to immediately turn to Him to cast out the lies and walk in His truth.

    1. I know what you mean, Sherry...until God reveals the truth, we accept whatever *sounds* believable as truth. Especially when we hear the message repeatedly. And yes, I think everyone has those vulnerable spots that we regularly battle. I've learned, and yet still need continual lessons, on why DAILY time with God is so very important :-).
      Thank you for sharing!


Thank you for your G-rated comments!