There’s No Excuse for Unkind Words

When I’m exhausted or in pain, my tolerance for anything disruptive tends to be very low.

I find myself apologizing to my husband for being grouchy and snippy. I hide in my bedroom to get away from my family. I just want to avoid all interaction until I feel myself again.

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As my mother told me when I was a child, “You’re pretty easy to get along with when everything goes well. But when something doesn’t go your way – look out, world!”


Now, as God said to Satan, let’s consider God’s servant Job.

If anyone had an excuse to reach a breaking point, it was he!

Yet, despite the loss of his ten children and his vast wealth, he would not speak against God.

Then, God allowed Satan to take Job’s health as well.

And Satan answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. – Job 2:4-7

Job sat among dust and ashes, perhaps in the “landfill” of the time, a place apart in which refuse was burned. He scraped his skin with a broken piece of pottery, trying to relieve the itch, pain, and pressure of his sores.

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Job’s wife asked him why he didn’t just curse God, and die. Perhaps she said this out of her own grief and despair, or out of a belief that her husband simply must have brought the wrath of God upon him. Perhaps she felt that because of his current condition, he would be better off dead.

But [Job] said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips. – Job 2:10

Job managed to speak with loving restraint to his wife. He did not call her a fool, or even foolish, but implied that she was speaking out of character, as a foolish woman would speak.

While sitting in that ash heap and scraping his horrible sores, he didn’t sin both in speaking about God, and in speaking to his wife.

Imagine the time and devotion to God it must have taken for Job to have developed such depth of character! His restraint has certainly challenged me to watch my words, particularly when I am at my weakest.


What inspires you about Job’s story? What helps you control your tongue? I look forward to your comments.

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14 thoughts on “There’s No Excuse for Unkind Words”

  1. Job’s steadfastness in the face of unspeakable tragedy continues to be a great encouragement to me when I hit a speed-bump in life.
    Like you, I am easier going when all is right ‘in my world.’ Not so much when it’s not. I have had many wonderful people help me along this path. One of the earliest ones was a gentleman with over 30 years in sobriety when I met him in AA. Recognizing this character flaw in me long before I did, he wisely suggested that I wait to respond/speak on my second thought, not my first. I cannot count the times this slight delay has allowed me to not act or speak rashly, but rather to more calmly consider what is going on around me.
    As always, your post has been helpful to me.
    Thanks and blessings,
    Pastor Chuck

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh yes…this sounds familiar: “…As my mother told me when I was a child, “You’re pretty easy to get along with when everything goes well. But when something doesn’t go your way – look out, world!” Thanks for your honesty — I can so relate. After reading in James 3 that “nobody can tame the tongue” I realized that I need God’s help to do it everyday. Can try, but can’t be consistently victorious on my own. I try to ask God to restrain my tongue at moments when I know I am especially weak. Before a women’s gathering, where I might be tempted to share stories about my husband or family that may be disrespectful…when I get in the car for a long trip with my husband (tempted to be snippy, critical of his driving, etc.) Sigh. I can never hear too many reminders like you gave above! Thank you for your thoughtful post!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m so glad you can relate! And everything you said…ditto. I understand completely. I also have to ask the Holy Spirit to, as David said in Psalm 141:3, “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.”

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  3. What doesn’t inspire me about Job would be a shorter answer. There is so much to learn in Job. One of my favourite verses is from Job. “And unto man He said, Behold, the fear of the LORD, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding. — Job 28:28” Even though every thing, every one, even the old evil one was against him, Job never blamed the God. His attitude was it is all the LORD’S anyway. He was in a miserable situation but he was content with whatever was the LORD’S will. What a blessing Job must have been to God also. Because when the devil came God knew Job would not forsake God, no matter what happened in his life. It seems I am always telling you things that I will put on repeat in my mind when things happen in my life, and when I am trying to be grateful, and not snippy 🙂 my auto repeat is “be like Job, be like Job” 🙂 I thank the LORD for continuing to bless and use you 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Margaret, I love the thought that Job must have been a blessing to the Lord. I wonder how many of us can claim that! And I love your idea to remind yourself constantly, “be like Job!” I need to add that to my prayers, that God will help me to be like Job when I need to be!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know. Could you imagine how much faith not only that Job had in God but how much faith God had in Job? He didn’t hesitate telling the evil one that Job was perfect, upright, feared Him, and did no evil. Wow. Yes I absolutely would be humbled beyond measure if the LORD spoke of me that way. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I think about Jesus on the cross, forgiving the people that just tortured Him. Job is the foreshadow of this event, keeping his cool, holding his tongue as people grill him right after losing all his kids, developing sores, and losing a good chunk of his possessions.

    Great concept to meditate on.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I try to keep in mind that the people around me most often are normally not to blame if I’m not feeling well, and therefore don’t deserve my taking it out on them; in fact, they would be most likely to help me get going again. And if my pain was caused by another person, through spiritual counsel I have found it wise to stay away from him/her until emotions cool off. That way, even if I have something that really needs to be said, it can be done in a more constructive way.

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