What Do Your Words Reveal about Your Heart?

In Proverbs 30:17, Solomon says of the son,  
The eye that mocks a father and scorns a mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out and the young eagles will eat it.

Know when the ravens know something is dead? 
They can pick at its eye.
A son that mocks his father is dead, and doesn’t know it.

What is mocking?
Mocking is sarcasm.

Sarcasm is defined as “the use of irony to mock or convey contempt”; the caustic use of words often in a humorous way to mock someone.”

Joey has told me before we met, he used sarcasm to be funny. He was witty, cutting, funny for everyone but who he hurt.
But the Spirit convicted him about his ability to make others laugh at someone’s expense.
As Joey listened to the Spirit, he realized he could be funny without hurtful—then all could laugh. No one was kicked in the gut or left wounded.
Today, Joey’s words bring a balm to people’s hearts. 
His words are kind, direct, sometimes hard, but never mocking or hurtful. 
He has learned what the Spirit taught him many years ago.

Recently someone said something to my son. He was teasing, but sarcastic. 
My son tried to defend himself, he was ridiculed more. 
My son doesn’t get social ques, he hasn’t learned to shut his mouth, he continued to defend himself, which made the sarcasm more hurtful to me. 
This person jabbed at a weaker person who couldn’t parry back with a ready reply for the sake of making a joke.
My son may not have realized what all had happened, but I did.
Know what I learned from that experience?
Not to trust that person.
Would I ever share a confidence with him? No.

The Scriptures says a lot about what we say, and how our speech should be.

Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. Colossians 4:6.
Our words, seasoned with grace, can still be corrective, instructive, informative, but not manipulative, destructive or sarcastic.

Today people confuse correction with judgment. They cannot be corrected. They are unteachable.
They’ve equated every way that anyone wants to go with God’s way, and so if they are corrected, feel judged.
We do not judge the world, only God does and will.
But we will judge angels and we are commanded to judge ourselves (the body of Christ) I Corinthians 6.

If we are doing something wrong, we should want correction.
Our pride rebels and defends, but we should consider a correction and evaluate its truthfulness and change.

Abraham Lincoln accepted correction from anybody.
The story is told that a little girl suggested he grow a beard to cover his ugly face.
He considered her request, though said without grace, and grew a beard.
We remember his face with his beard because he was willing to change.

His humility and willingness to hear the best solution for the country, allowed him to put people who knew more than he about a given subject into positions where they could best help the country.
He was humble enough to allow himself to be instructed by anyone.

I do not advocate allowing your children to correct you at will. There is still a level of respect for your position that must be taught and enforced.

But when our children reached a certain point in their development, we put them in charge of certain projects. I’d ask how they would do something. They’d give their input. Many times it was better than what I thought of doing. I learned from them, and allowed them to complete the project their way. Other times, I'd question things they may not have considered. I still allowed them to do it their way most of the time. They learned to lead, solve problems, while still respecting my authority.

This was not done when they were toddlers deciding whether they would have ice cream for breakfast. This was later, when they learned first to obey without discussion. 
I’ve told this illustration before, when I stay “stop” because they are running into the street, I demand and expect them to stop, not discuss and debate whether they should be allowed to proceed. 

My rules aren’t a suggestion, they are an order. 
But as they learn to obey, I give the reason behind the rule. 
Not before they obey, but after.
As they got older, I discussed certain rules so they understand why.
Not so they can give me reasons why they do not need to obey. 
As they left our home, I’m still honored, but I do not tell them how to raise their children (at least I try not to interject my thoughts), unless they ask. 
It’s those “words seasoned with grace” where I may present my suggestions.

Sarcastic correction or manipulation does not yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness.
When we correct our children with sarcasm, they do not see the truth of your correction and change their behavior,
they see your delivery and respond by defending their behavior or protecting themselves. 

(No one likes to be made fun of.)
When I use sarcasm, ​I haven’t disciplined my child in love, but in caustic remarks to a weaker person who cannot defend themselves.

Same with speaking to your husband.

Sarcasm does not edify. It may present a hidden truth, which is why it can be funny.
By its nature it’s mocking.
Remember that eye that is picked out.
The person is...
And not kind.

Munipulation gives similar responses.
Instead of willfully complying with your request, your child rebels. Or if he does obey, he feels used.
My dad’s philosophy was “I’ll scratch your back, if you scratch mine.”
When I obeyed, I didn’t feel appreciated, I felt used.

That is not the reward God promises for obedience.
I don’t do something to earn God’s love.
I have God’s love regardless of what I do.
But as I obey, my relationship with God deepens, I understand a little more of Who God is.
My faith grows, too.
That’s how we should seek to bring obedience with our children.
Not in sarcasm that belittles the child, nor in manipulation that makes the child feel guilty if he does not obey.

As parents, we reflect to our children Who God is.
God doesn’t hold over our heads a threat—if you do this, I will give you this.
Although there are rewards for obedience, that’s not why we obey.
We should obey God because that’s what pleases Him.
Same with our children.
When they are toddlers, it's the reward that motivates them to obey. 
But as they mature, they shouldn't obey for the reward, but because it is right.
That's maturity.
Both with your children, and with you and your relationship with God.
We should strive to make our children obey to please us.

By eliminating sarcasm and manipulation from our vocabulary, we instead train our child with words seasoned with grace. 
By reflecting that grace, we show them God.

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I write about what you---
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               Sonya Contreras

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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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