A little poison goes a long way, with much destruction left in its path. That is what toxic words do to a person. I grew up with three beautiful sisters but I was not like them. I was gawky and sporty. I became a joke to some of my older cousins and uncles; they called me, “cara de highway” (highway face), watermelon head and the famous, “there is no way you come from this family we only make pretty people.” Obviously, I didn’t fall into the pretty category. Those words were toxic. As time continued I grew up and married a man who told me “in spite of the way I looked he loved me,” I’m guessing that was supposed to be a compliment. I learned to put make up on without looking in a mirror because of the level of toxicity spoken over me as a child that lingered for the better part of my adulthood.
Can you remember a few of the toxic words spoken over you?
- “You’ll never amount to anything.”
- “I wish I never had you.”
- “You’re nothing like your brother.”
- “I’m sick of you, I can’t wait for you to get out.”
- “I never loved you.”
- “You’ll never change.”
- “You’re just like your father/mother”…etc.
Those words crush and hurt you, we then turn around and speak them onto others spreading the toxicity. Eventually these words take us down a path God never meant for us to be on. These words rob us of our God-given identity. Words have the power of life and death. As a child those words killed the little princess I wanted to be and gave birth to a fighter, boxer, and “tomboy.” Throughout the book of Proverbs we read about the life-giving abilities of our words. We obviously can’t control what others say about us, but we can control what we believe. Since toxic words can destroy our souls, we’ve got to passionately guard our hearts against them. Proverbs 4:23 states, “23 More than anything you guard, protect your mind, for life flows from it. 24 Have nothing to do with a corrupt mouth; keep devious lips far from you. 25 Focus your eyes straight ahead; keep your gaze on what is in front of you.” We must keep others from dumping their toxic waste into our heart…it is not a dump site.
Countless times a day, when it comes to what you hear and say, you have choices to make. When you hear the words of others, you can choose to receive them as truth or reject them as lies. And every time you open your mouth to utter a word, you have the opportunity to speak life or the temptation to take it.The types of words we use on others will have positive and negative effects on their lives as well as our own. How many times have we said something and the second it leaves our lips we wish we could take it back? When someone says something to or about you, first consider the source, then decide if you will accept or reject those words. Train yourself to put those words into two separate categories Truth or Toxic. Analyze the message and source before swallowing and digesting what someone else wants to feed you. Don’t compromise the Word of God, in order to satisfy someone who will repeatedly give you trash. Like physical trash, take it out to the curb and dump it, otherwise you are accepting the stench of untrue, mean-spirited, and critical words, call them what they are — toxic waste.
My mother spoke life into me the year after my divorce. I confided in her about some of the things I grew up hearing and how I felt so unattractive in my marriage. Nothing I did was ever good enough, I never looked pretty or perfect enough for him and I didn’t know how to get past those toxic thoughts. My mother said, “People are only as important as you make them. If they put food on your table then listen with God’s ear, but if they don’t, then kick them to the curb. Because my God made you specifically the way He wanted you. God don’t make ugly and neither did I.” She taught me that I am beautiful not because the world says it but because God deemed it.
Toxic waste belongs in the dump sites outside your heart and mind. Don’t hold on to it, like a hoarder. Storing and storing until its so piled up you can’t see what is in and around you. It takes up too much precious time and space, it rots, pollutes and fogs up the perfect Word of God that has been written about you in His love letters; the Bible. Put that stuff out in the curb and let the trash man pick up what was never your trash to keep!
Keeping it Simple & Straightforward