Child sticking out his tongue, Author Augusto Starita (GNU Free Documentation License) (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

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).

With Singing

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.




Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse

20 responses to “Self-Talk

  1. Reblogged this on Anchor Thy Soul and commented:
    Great truth Anna!

  2. Good morning, Anna, I hope today finds you well!

  3. Excellent post Anna. As hard as it can be for victims of abuse to believe, there is indeed a silver lining to be found in the person of Jesus Christ. It is only through Jesus that deliverance will come, for He alone searches the hearts and brings every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

    God is a restorer of what the enemy has stolen from us, and we must do our best to declare it to those who suffer in silence.

    • Believing that God loves us, that He does not see us as damaged goods, is a great challenge for abuse victims. We must proceed as if God’s love were real until we come to see that it is!

  4. It is so important for us to be mindful of the way negative ‘self-talk’ impacts us as abuse victims. Often we don’t realise that we can change that self-talk because it has become so ingrained that we feel that the situation is permanently hopeless. Anna, this is such a wonderfully encouraging and healing post showing us that the impact of abuse need not define the way we see ourselves – we can in time learn to believe what God’s Word says about us that we are precious and worthy of love which is so empowering. This is so beautifully written Anna – thank you.

  5. Each time I read your offerings, I’m struck by your compassion–such eloquent–yet, unintimidating–compassion…thank you for sharing 🙂

  6. This is really terrific! I’m amazed at your view of this; never having read anything like it. You back up everything with Scripture, and have a poetic style. I really enjoyed this one. 🙂

  7. Quote:
    “It may be some small consolation that such children have gone home to God. Their pain is over. That should not, however, diminish our outrage.”

    So well said. Truth in love…

    All our theology and ways we hide from our own fears behind our religion cannot stand against His truth spoken in love. We understand there is an eternal rest in Christ… and at the *same* time, must not become jaded to the pain and suffering we see. How often we can brush it aside…

    We are to be the light and the voice to those who have none. Who will step outside our religious walls and actually make a difference? Who will be their voice?

    This was very convicting and motivating. In the last 2 posts, I finally got caught up on to read, I can already feel The Lord’s heart clearing the clutter that I was struggling with this past month or so…

    Amen, Anna.


    • Thank you for the feedback, David. I feel at times unchristian, or at least at odds with the kind of mealy-mouthed Christianity that spouts empty platitudes and urges forgiveness on those still bleeding from their wounds. I am grateful to have found a kindred spirit in you, my brother!


  8. You said it all here, Anna. And yes indeed, Sister.

    Thank you

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