by: Carole L. Haines
29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
(Ephesians 4:29-32 NASB)
My intention this morning was to finish writing a Devotion I started yesterday, but God grabbed me with this one. I was at a gathering of Believers last night whom I didn’t know. That is always awkward for an extreme introvert like myself. It makes me so self-conscious instead of Christ conscious. My husband said I did fine, but I just don’t know how to do the whole “socializing” thing. I woke up this morning with a knot in my stomach and was feeling so unsure when God brought me to this passage and seemed to whisper to me,
“Do not speak against yourself in this way. You should speak words that are good for your own edification so that you experience My Grace.”
I was dumbfounded. I mean, I never think about how I speak to myself. I have had many people, including my precious husband, tell me that I am much too hard on myself. I felt God urging me to ease up on the worry about how I came across. I tend to think of myself as “an acquired taste.” You are either going to like me, or not. But I think that God has been showing me that is much too harsh a way to look at someone who is a part of His Body. I’m not into that whole, “self-love” thing. But I felt God telling me that I need to be kind to myself, in thought as well as speech, because He meant it when He said to love your neighbor as yourself.
I will tend toward hardness toward my neighbor, if I think wrongly about myself. God has given me a whole new Identity in Jesus. I am Beloved of My Father, a part of a Holy Priesthood, one of His own possessions. He loves me with an everlasting love. The Bible tells us we are to speak truth to one another in love. That includes ourselves.
If you struggle with doubts about yourself, feelings of inadequacy and fear. Look at the above passage from this new angle God gave to me this morning. Do not be bitter or angry toward yourself. Be kind and tender-hearted, forgiving yourself, as well as others, the way Christ has forgiven you. Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth, no accusatory or harsh declarations. Speak the truth of God’s view to yourself and I believe you will find it easier to love your neighbor, to truly love one another.