“Their tongue is an arrow shot out; It speaks deceit…” (Jer. 9: 8).
The Bible does not favor the tongue much. That organ is instead described as crafty (Job 15: 5), lying (Ps. 109: 2), false (Ps. 120: 3), divided (Ps. 55: 9), and deceitful (Ps. 52: 4). Job called it a scourge (Job 5: 21), with evil hidden beneath the sweetness (Job 12: 20).
As abuse victims, we experienced this firsthand. The full force of the tongue was directed against us. We were vilified and demeaned by our abusers, humiliated and reviled without a chance to defend ourselves.
Into the Marrow
“And their tongue [is] a sharp sword” (Ps. 57: 4).
Words can cut deeply, especially since children do not weigh their veracity.
Worse still, hurtful words can be absorbed into the marrow, becoming the vocabulary we use to converse with ourselves. That inner dialog is, in effect, poisoned by the abuse to which we were subjected.
Unaware that there is any alternative, we rely on this polluted self-talk.
Unfortunately, what that does is perpetuate the lies with which we were barraged as children – that we were ugly, stupid, undeserving of attention or affection. That we were perverted. That we would not succeed in life, and stood no chance of finding love.
Exhausted and Mute
“My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My tongue clings to My jaws…” (Job 22: 15).
This negative inner dialog renders us not only exhausted, but mute. How can we begin to untangle the lies? Who would want to hear our side of the story, in any event?
Even the mildest confrontation has us stumbling over our tongues. Whatever the context, arguments in favor of our position are never articulated or fade away to silence.
Speaking Truth to Ourselves
“In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues…” (Mark 16: 17).
But there is an alternative available to us. It involves speaking God’s truth to ourselves.
We are not worthless in His sight. In fact, the very opposite is true. We are infinitely precious, so much so that God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sakes.
The Hebrew prophet, Isaiah foretold that the Messiah would release the tongues of stammerers, restoring their speech (Is. 32: 4). When Jesus Christ came on the scene, He did just this (Mark 7: 35).
Some of God’s truths? That He chose us before the world was ever created (Eph. 1: 11-12); that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139: 14); that He loves us as His children (1 John 3: 1); that He is especially near to the brokenhearted (Ps. 34: 18); that He carries us close to His heart, the way a shepherd carries a lamb (Is. 40: 11); and that His love is everlasting (Jer. 31: 3).
“Then our mouth was filled with laughter, And our tongue with singing” (Ps. 126: 2).
The Bible tell us the mouths of the righteous speak wisdom and justice (Ps. 37: 30); their tongues talk of kindness, promoting health (Prov. 12: 18; Prov. 31: 26). This can be read as supporting mental health.
Difficult as the task may sound, we can take control of our inner dialog, and redirect it.
To accomplish that, we must challenge the adversary’s lies. We must abandon shame, hopelessness, and despair. We must cast aside every false idea that runs counter to God’s teaching, and bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10: 5).
We can take our disabling self-talk to God, in the process becoming the men and women He always meant us to be.
FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com