Lately I’m seeing a lot of topics of domestic abuse popping up in my feed on facebook and I feel compelled to write about one of the lesser talked about topics of abuse—Verbal abuse. Now, as Christians, we still struggle with thorns of the flesh and for some it is the tongue that is hard to control.
I’m not a psychiatrist and I’m not a doctor but I am a woman who has been verbally abused, starting when I was a young child and continuing on into adulthood. It’s a dirty little secret and something that’s embarrassing to admit but now that it’s out there, let’s talk about things for a little bit.
To the precious person under the bondage of verbal abuse:
I want you to remember that you are loved by God and this is not your fault. God sees your tears and he knows the burden that you bear. Seek him and cast your cares on Him because as His word tells us—He cares for you. Now before anyone jumps on me for not suggesting that you get out of the relationship; that isn’t what this post is about. By all means, do not stay in an abusive relationship. However, sometimes it isn’t just a partner that is verbally abusive. Sometimes it is a friend, a child, a coworker or even a parent. No matter the circumstances—God loves you. Never forget that.
To the Christian struggling with bridling the tongue:
Did you know that the Bible says that death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21) and that our words can pierce as a sword (Proverbs 12:18)?
A good number of you think that your words are easily brushed off or that you can justify your actions by giving excuses. You may say you were tired, you were hungry. Maybe you weren’t feeling well or maybe you had a bad day. The Bible says that your tongue is like a sword. Let’s think on this literally rather than figuratively for a second. What would happen if you literally used a sword against someone? In a court of law would the results of that action still be justified because you are tired? I think not.
Your tongue isn’t literally a sword so let me explain, what you the abuser is doing. Let me explain to you how your tongue is exactly like a sword. Your words cause emotional stress and turmoil to the person you are abusing. In 1996 a study was done that determined that 75-90% of all healthcare visits are due to stress related health problems. Stress leads to high blood pressure, heart problems, anxiety and depression. Stress is linked to elevated inflammation in the heart. Quite literally, you are using your tongue to inflict stress which is a proven silent killer.
Your verbal abuse doesn’t just affect the person you are inflicting, but it also affects you and your own health. In the book of James it says the following;
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. –James 3:6
In the book of Matthew there is a warning of judgment for your idle words
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. –Matthew 12:36-37
If you struggle with being verbally abusive, I ask that you please consider these things. Talk to a counselor, your pastor or a trusted spiritual mentor. You speak things from the abundance of the heart (Luke 6:45) . God is love—it’s impossible to spew hatred when you fill your heart with the love of God.
“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16)
Unsure if you’re being abused?
Some of the signs of verbal abuse include the following
- Yelling and screaming at you
- Calling you names or putting you down
- Embarrassing you in public
- Blaming your actions for their behavior
- Using sarcasm and then claiming you misunderstand them
- Countering everything you say and placing blame back on you.
Love should never hurt. Please seek the help of a professional, a trusted friend or spiritual mentor.