Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Overcoming the Curse of Words, Day 3

Leslie Basham: Do you ever curse other people? Are you sure? Here’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth:Parents don’t realize how the things they say to their children in private or in public  affect them. I hear some things said to children in public that I think, If they talk that way in the store, how do they talk at home? They’re not thinking. They’re clueless. They don’t realize the impact. So many wives don’t realize how their words curse their husbands.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts for Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth for Wednesday, October 26, 2016.

Cursing is only done by fairy tale characters  and sea-battered sailors, right? Not quite. It happens right in the stress of everyday life—in traffic, in long lines, and in homes. Later in the program we’ll hear from a woman who used to regularly curse her husband. But first, Nancy’s continuing in the teaching series “Overcoming the Curse of Words.”

Nancy: If you had asked me a few weeks ago before I started this study, "Do you curse?" I would have thought or said, "No way." In fact, I have to tell you, I think that I was probably, and you may find this hard to believe, I don't know that I ever heard a word of profanity until I was out of high school. I was just not raised in an environment where profanity was used.

I'm very thankful that I didn't have that intake into my mind. As a result, the common way we think of cursing as profanity is not something that has been a part of my lifestyle. But as I did this study on blessing and cursing out of the Scripture, I realized I do curse, and I have cursed—as the Scripture defines cursing.

We've been looking in James chapter 3, and I want to pick up where we left off in the last session. We're talking about how to overcome the power of words that curse and wound and break our spirits. We're talking about the need to repent of ways that we have cursed with our tongues, that we have sinned against others with our tongues.

We quoted yesterday from James 3 where the apostle says that we use our tongues on the one hand to bless God, to speak well of Him—that's the word eulogy. At the same time, we use our tongues to curse people who are made in the image, the likeness of God.

And that word curse is not "profanity." It's speaking or wishing anyone evil or ruin. And James says, "This is not right that both kinds of talking—blessing and cursing—should be coming out of the same mouth."

He keeps this theme going through the book. If you haven't had enough there in chapter 3, you get to chapter 4 and it comes back again. He says, "Don't speak evil against one another, brothers" (James 4:11). Believers, children of God, you're part of a family. You belong to each other. Don't speak evil against one another.

Now, it's a different word there than the word that is used for cursing in the previous chapter, but the meaning is similar. It means to speak against. Kata, against. Laleo, to speak. To speak against. It's allowing thoughtless words to be spoken. And he says, "Don't do it."

As I was meditating on this passage, God began to convict my heart of the ways that in conversation, to others or about others to someone else, that I speak words that are not edifying, that are critical, that are thoughtless, that are not wishing them blessing, not speaking well of them but speaking evil of them.

And then, here's what really convicted me. When I began to cross-reference in my mind this thing of speaking evil against others and I went to the book of 1 Peter, I realized on two instances in the book of 1 Peter he talks about speaking evil of others as behavior of nonbelievers. That's what nonbelievers do. They speak evil against people.

First Peter 2 says it; 1 Peter 3 says it. It just hit me like a ton of bricks that every time I speak evil about or to someone else, I'm acting like a non-Christian. That's a characteristic of an unbeliever. When I speak critically or negatively of a Christian brother or sister, I'm acting like a lost person! That's not how Christians talk. That's not how Christians are supposed to talk. We're to use our tongues to bless.

So let me ask you, do you curse or do you bless with your tongue? If you're really brave, you may want to ask your children or your mate about the words that you’ve spoken to them. I mean, we probably wouldn’t curse each other in this group, not knowingly or intentionally. We’re on our best behavior here. I’ve never had anybody curse me when I came to these recording sessions.

But the test is when we get home, when we get back to the office, when we get to the people who know us the best and the people where we let our hair down, and we just speak without thinking. Ask your mate, "The words that I speak to you, do they bless you, or have I wounded you with my tongue, with my words, with the way that I've spoken to you?"

Now, you may know without asking. I can see from the look in some of your faces that you do know and that God is saying to your heart, "You've cursed your husband."

When God's Word says, "As a child of God, you're supposed to reverence your husband." That means speak well of your husband, lift him up, bless him.

You say, "But he curses me."

All the more reason to bless him.

Think about how you're raising your children and the way that you correct them, and the way that you react when they do wrong. Are the words that come out words of blessing?

Now that doesn't mean you bless them for sinning. But as you're correcting them, are you doing it in a way that blesses them and edifies and builds them up? Or do you do it hastily in words that curse and put down? Do you say things that, if you stopped and thought about it, you would know were going to be so damaging?

If you don’t want to ask your husband or your children or your parents, ask the Lord. “Lord, are there ways that I’ve been using my tongue with the people I’m closest to, to curse rather than to bless?”

I think we're so often clueless about the impact of our words. Let me say again that it's especially true in the family. Parents don’t realize how the things they say to their children in private or in public . . . I hear some things said to children in public that I think, If they talk that way in the store, how do they talk at home? They’re not thinking. They’re clueless. They don’t realize the impact. And so many wives who don’t realize how their words curse their husbands.

It’s in vogue today to make “men jokes” to do “men bashing.” Now, men can’t get away with doing that to women, but women can do it about men. I don’t mean they can as in they should. But it’s acceptable to do that.

Let me tell you, if you're a child of God, it is not acceptable to speak crassly or in a derogatory way, even if it’s humorous, of your husband. It's not appropriate to speak that way of men in general. "Oh, men just act that way." Don't talk that way. They're created in the image of God.

Now, they are sinners, just as we are. They need to be redeemed just as we do. But I want to tell you, there is such power with our words.

When you speak words and you say, "I didn't mean it." Well, first of all, the Scripture says you did mean it. Because "out of the abundance of your heart, your mouth speaks" (Luke 6:45). It revealed what you really meant. You say, "But I really didn't mean that. It just came out."

We've got to stop and realize that those words we speak, words of blessing and words of cursing, have such power. God spoke and the world came into being. That's the power of words.

When you speak in a belittling or a demeaning way to your mate, to your children, to your parents, to your in-laws, to coworkers, to your boss, or about any of these people, you become a curser.

There's power that goes with those words—power to destroy, power to tear apart. You may want to ask yourself, “Is it possible that my husband has become the man he has in part because of words that I've spoken to him, that have just torn him apart, belittled him, torn him down? And now he's become a curser?”

Now I'm not saying that if you only speak words of blessing to your husband that that necessarily means your husband will be a godly man. He still has to make his choices.

But there's such a cycle in this blessing and cursing thing. As we speak words of blessing, we promote blessing. As we speak words of cursing, we promote cursing. Let me caution you about saying, "I was just teasing. Just jesting."

I asked some friends as I was working on this series to email me about words of blessing or cursing that had affected them through the course of their lives. I was interested in how many came back and said, "There was something that was said to me as a child that was said in jest, but it really hurt."

A woman who said her dad was teasing her when she was in first or second grade, and he told her that her head was so little that that meant she just didn't have a very big brain and that's why she wasn't very smart.

She's a grownup now, and she really believes he was teasing. But she said, "As a child, I believed him. I went on in school to prove that I wasn't smart. I had an older sister who was smart. But I thought I wasn't smart. I would cheat to try and do well in school, and I still couldn't measure up."

Proverbs 26 talks about people who say, "I'm just teasing." Here's how it describes that kind of teasing, that kind of cursing. It says, "Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death is a man who deceives his neighbor and says, 'I was only joking!'" (vv. 18–19).

You speak the words, you say, “I was just teasing.” And he says, "What you really are is like a crazy man who is throwing firebrands, arrows, and death." That's the power of words to curse.

Be careful that you're not too quick to speak. Let me say to those of you who are moms, "You can really destroy the spirit of your children by being quick to jump to conclusions, to make snap judgments."

When your children do something wrong or something that you don't approve of, something that you need to deal with, don't be quick to say the first thing that comes to your mind. Stop. Wait a moment, maybe several moments. Give God a chance to show you what you should say and give God a chance to get involved in your child's life. The conviction will be greater if you wait and find out what it is that God wants you to say.

There are other ways that we curse with our tongues: constantly criticizing, constantly evaluating. Your children may feel they can never measure up. Your husband may feel he can never measure up.

As God brings these types of cursing to your mind, as He exposes them in your life, be willing to repent. Not just to be wounded over ways that others have cursed you, but if you want to overcome the curse of words that have been spoken to you, then be willing to repent of the curse of words that you have given out to others.

If you want to overcome the curse of words that have been spoken to you, then be willing to repent of the curse of words that you have given out to others.

So as we wrap up this time, let me just ask, is there someone that God’s brought to your mind as we've been speaking here? Your mate, a child, a parent, a pastor, a friend, a coworker, in-laws that you've cursed with your tongue? You've spoken to or about them, belittling, demeaning words?

You want God's grace? You want to live under God's blessing? You want to break the cycle of cursing in your life? Then say, "Oh Lord, please forgive me."

Be honest with God, acknowledge to Him what He's convicting you of. Ask His forgiveness. And where appropriate, where possible, go back and seek the forgiveness of the one that you've cursed with your tongue—especially if they're aware of it. Say, "I've sinned against you with my tongue; I cursed you. I want to ask your forgiveness."

As you begin to speak words of blessing where you have spoken words of cursing, then you'll see God begin to break that cycle of cursing—not only in your life, but perhaps even in the lives of those to whom you will now speak blessing.

Leslie: That’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth in the series “Overcoming the Curse of Words.” So many people are guilty of cursing others but just aren’t recognizing it. We’re about to hear a story about a wife who discovered she’d been using her words to discourage her family. We’ll hear how God got her attention. Now this family is using their words to serve others through prayer. Kim Zolman remembers what life used to be like for her and her husband, Tad.

Kim Zolman:A lot of times what I would do is I would step in and override Tad’s decisions maybe with the children or something that we would be doing. I would step in and say, “Oh, it’s okay. Let’s do it this way.” I was really not allowing him to lead our home.

Leslie: Here’s Tad.

Tad Zolman: Usually when my leadership was challenged, I’d probably just walked outside and not dealt with it. She had mentioned I don’t deal with conflict very well. So I would either just be quiet and not talk about it, and I’d go outside and stew about it instead.

Leslie: As Tad was constantly second guessed, he wanted to stop making decisions.

Tad: Yes, you just try to do what she’s thinking. You try to think ahead, Well, how would she want me to do this instead of what maybe God would have me do. But you always try to do what she thought would be best.

Leslie: Tad recognizes that he still had a responsibility to lead even if his wife didn’t want to follow. Instead of trying to lead, he tried to keep the peace even if it meant becoming passive.

Tad: So I didn’t want to deal with conflict. I allowed her to do that, and it’s just as much my fault because I didn’t take the leadership and say, “May we talk about it?” Or say, “No, I don’t think that’s best.” But we should have talked about it at least.

Leslie: Kim recognizes she was tempting him to give up his responsibility to provide godly leadership.

Kim: I think it was really hard for him. I think he’s more of a quiet type of person. But when I would do that, he would just allow me to do it. So he wasn’t able to be the leader that he was supposed to be. I was taking that away from him. It saddens me to know that I was not allowing him to be able to be the leader that God called him to be.

Leslie: In 2008, everything changed when Kim attended True Woman '08, the first national conference sponsored by Revive Our Hearts.

Kim: Wow. There was so much the Lord was doing in my heart at that time. I think in particular the thing that stood out to me was the surrender. The Lord was teaching me a lot about how I was clinging to my ways instead of the Lord’s ways.

Janet Parshall (from the conference): Can you accept His will for your life right now even if it isn’t what you want? “But God, I want to be married!” What if God says, “No”? “God, I want children.” What if God says, “No”? “God, heal my husband.” What if God says, “No”?

Does it start chipping away at His love for you? Do you start saying, “I can’t trust You.” Why? Because He’s not the ATM of our prayer requests? Because He doesn’t give us what we want? Because in our boastful nature we can presume to know what in fact is best for us? If everything is pushed through the grid of His love, and it is, can we trust Him? Can we trust Him?

I think often we say, “Oh God, I love You” so easily. But how we balk at saying, “But God, I also trust You.”

Kim: That’s what life’s about—daily surrendering to Him. I had to learn that over and over again that just because I surrendered once that didn’t do it. I need to daily go to Him and surrender everything to Him.

In the case of with my children especially, too many times I would try to be their Holy Spirit and try to convict them where that was the Holy Spirit’s job and not mine. So I knew right then that I needed to step back and allow the Holy Spirit to do His job, and I needed to surrender them to the Lord.

Leslie: When Kim got home, here’s what Tad saw.

Tad: A changed woman.

Leslie: She wanted to repent and ask forgiveness.

Kim: Not only with my husband, but I also made sure that my kids were there as I apologized and said, “I have given you the wrong picture of what a woman, a biblical woman is supposed to be in a home.”

So the Lord taught me through that time to allow Tad to be the leader of our home, and I’m still working at it. It’s not that I have it down. Again, it’s a process. But the Lord was drawing me closer to Him through that time.

Leslie: Kim now gives input to her husband, talks things over with him. But she doesn’t feel like it’s her job to control his final decision.

Kim: I now see the joy of surrendering that to the Lord and being submissive to my husband and how things work so much smoothly when I do that.

Leslie: Each year since that 2008 conference, Kim has found something different and worthwhile at each True Woman event.

Kim: Each conference has a different focus. They have different topics that they are covering, as well. It’s just a refreshing time and also a great time to be reminded of what you are already taught and that you can continue in what you’ve been taught and be able to walk forward in those truths.

Leslie: From the beginning, Kim wanted to share her True Woman experience with others.

Kim: When 2010 True Woman came around, I decided that I wanted to be able to take a group of people and share those truths with them as well.

Leslie: And so now, Kim and Tad are speaking life through teaching, encouraging, and prayer. When Kim surrendered her life to the Lord and asked Him to control her words, it was a real turning point.

Tad: You get married and you don’t recognize or know what will happen through your life. And through our marriage, I got more than what I deserve. I’ve been blessed. We mentioned that to each other just the other day or last night. I am blessed now way more than I could imagine. And that’s to give God the glory for that one.

Leslie: The Lord used True Woman '08 as the setting for that turning point in this marriage. We’re so grateful that He has continued to use Revive Our Hearts in the lives of Tad and Kim. Now they are giving back to the ministry by joining the staff. If you've benefitted from the ministry of Revive Our Hearts, how would the Lord have You get involved to support the ministry? If He's calling you to join the staffTad and Kim have done, great! For most people, God will leave them in their regular jobs and have them pray for the ministry and contribute financially.

When you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount this week, we’ll show our thanks by sending you the brand new 2017 wall calendar. Ask for the Adorned calendar when you call 1–800–569–5959, or you can visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Today we’ve been talking about blessing and cursing with our words, and some significant things happen when you bless those who curse you.

Nancy: Don’t just think it about your children, about your mate. Say it. You need to say it. If there are things you appreciate, that you admire, and it crosses your mind, “I’m so glad my husband did whatever.” Say it to him. Speak the words.

And could I say, say it now. Don’t wait for the funeral. That’s where they give eulogies, isn’t it? I think it’s so nice that people give eulogies at funerals. But I think what’s really tragic is that so many of those eulogies given at funerals were never given when the person was alive. In many cases it’s not that the person was an awful person, that people didn’t think it. They just didn’t say it. Ladies, you don’t know that you will see your husband a next time.

Leslie: Blessing others with your words. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts. Nancy’s back again with a final prayer.

Nancy: Oh Father, we all have to confess that we have sinned against You and against others with words that we’ve spoken were careless, caustic, cruel. We didn’t intend perhaps to destroy that person made in Your image. But that’s what we’ve done. Some of us have been just giving out to others the cursing we’ve received from our childhood or our more recent years.

Oh Lord, we repent. We confess that we are cursers and that we’ve sinned against You and against others. We pray for Your forgiveness and Your mercy. Show us where we need to go back and make things right. Where we need to get a clear conscience where we need to seek forgiveness from others. Make us willing repenters, Oh Lord, and not just for this moment while we’re listening to this message, but may we be conscious in the days ahead of our need to be continually repenting as we speak words that curse.

And may the evidence of the repentance be that we begin to speak words that bless. Lord, I just believe that there’s some homes that are going to be really different if we truly repent. So may it be so, I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture was taken from the English Standard Version.

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