We mentioned in our last post that negative words spoken toward us by others are “arrows” that the devil uses to neutralize us so that we do not advance the Kingdom of God. We also said that these word-arrows are a form of condemnation, and that God’s word says there is NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).
Negative words come against us as curses from the enemy of our souls. But we do not need to passively accept them. Proverbs 26:2 says, “Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest” (NIV). 1 John 4:4 asserts, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he who is in you, than he who is in the world.” Now, it is still up to us to actively resist those curses. We don’t need to be sponges, soaking up every evil word that is tossed our way. We resist them in the power of the Holy Spirit, Who dwells within us.
Here are some ideas on how to resist negative words:
1.) Know the difference between correction and criticism. Correction is necessary, if we are to grow. It should come from someone who is over us in the Lord, such as a pastor, or a friend or family member who truly cares about us. Correction, even though it is unpleasant, will be affirming, coming from an attitude of desiring what is best for us. It will be done in love, not with the motive of “putting us in our place.” Mistakes can be made in the correction process, but by and large, it is for our benefit. Don’t miss the benefits of submitting to genuine correction.
2.) Know that God does not speak of you as junk. God does not trash His children. He sees us as beautiful, perfect. He sees us as what we are becoming, not what we are in the process. Good parents do not berate a child for not having the maturity that he will come into decades later. Rather, they guide their children into greater wisdom and judgment as situations arise. That is the way our heavenly Father operates too. When we stumble, He does not cut us to ribbons. Consequently, if we find that words spoken of us are out of alignment with Father’s treatment of us, we do not have to accept them. In fact, we must not.
3.) Understand that your personality traits do not make you bad. God does not chastise us for personality characteristics. He made our personalities – and if someone else is irritated by part of our personality makeup, that is their problem, not ours. Being opinionated, reserved, emphatic, introspective, assertive, non-aggressive, stoic, boisterous, quiet, etc. are all examples of personality/temperament traits. None of them are bad in themselves, although each one has its challenges and temptations. Don’t let someone make you feel bad about yourself because he or she doesn’t like your personality type. God loves your unique personality!
4.) Understand that critical words are often not about you, but are driven by insecurities in the criticizer. If we are secure in who we are, we do not have a need to put others down. The issue might be jealousy of things seen in us that other people would like to live up to, but feel they cannot. They therefore feel threatened, and retaliate. Critical people suffer from a spirit of rejection, which often manifests as an attempt to intimidate or manipulate others through negative speech and actions.
5.) Don’t take the spirit of rejection into your own bosom. This is very real: the spirit of rejection that controls an accuser will try to attach itself to you through the rejecting words that are spoken by that person. Active resistance and refusal are necessary.
We will finish the list next time.
Speaking as the Oracles of God & Resisting Negative Words audio teaching (CD or mp3 download)