Tabitha Dunkum, AACC Intern
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:29-32, NIV).
As Christian Counselors, it is vital that we remain consistent in our study of God’s Word, so that we can effectively pour into the lives of our clients. It is also important for us to develop a habit of speaking words of life and words of grace into each and every life we come across. This can be especially difficult when you are feeling anger towards someone who has wronged you. But it says in Ephesians 4:32 – “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (NIV). Forgiving is the key word here. When we harbor anger and bitterness towards others, we are actually placing chains of bitterness around ourselves, which can hinder our walk with the Lord and also our work as a Counselor. Before we can begin to understand what it means to speak life into other people, we must first allow God to speak life into our own lives. We must learn to live with God’s perspective in place of our own; learning to love others like He does, and learning to be selfless and compassionate towards those who need it most.
There are three points that I would like to bring to your attention that I have learned from reading and studying this passage of Scripture.
- Forgiveness is the key to the door of the prison that we’ve place ourselves in, not the person who has wronged us – When we finally come to grips with this fact, we can learn how to forgive more quickly, and to do it with a joyful, grateful heart. Withholding forgiveness is actually a sin, according to God’s Word: “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15, NIV).
- Forgiveness gives way to kindness. I know this sounds a little weird, because when you forgive, that does not mean that the person was not in the wrong, or what they did was okay. But what it does mean is that you are no longer allowing the hurt that you felt from that wrongdoing to harm you anymore, and you are now choosing to love like Jesus, and to show kindness to them, because that is what Jesus commands us to do (v. 32).
- Words are powerful. This last point is obvious. When someone calls you a name, or says something about you behind your back it But hear me out. Words are like a double-edged sword – a sharp one at that! James 3:9-12 says this: “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water” (NIV). It is highly contradictory for our mouths to produce both good things and bad things. The reason this is a reality is our sin nature. We were created to love and to be loved in return. We were created to be compassionate, grace-giving creatures who glorify God with everything that is within them. We have been made in God’s image and likeness, and we are called to reflect that likeness in everything that we do, but also everything that we say.
Speak life, and you get joy, compassion, love, and kindness. Speak brokenness and death, and that is exactly what you will get.
Tabitha Dunkum is a senior at Liberty University studying Psychology: Counseling and Human Development, and is an intern for the American Association of Christian Counselors. She plans to continue her education by a pursuing a master’s degree through Liberty University in Marriage and Family Therapy.
Posted on: May 27, 2015, 2 p.m.