Verbal Abuse
(Part One of Two)

“I feel so humiliated! I felt so trashed, dumped on, and walked all over. My reputation has been damaged! This person has spread lies about me to all my friends and they believe them. I don’t want to see or be around anyone. I wish I could disappear off the face of the earth. Why did this happen to me?” This is a typical response out of the mouth of a person who has just been verbally abused.
Every person alive has been or will be verbally abused. One of the most important questions that needs to be asked is, “How should I respond when it happens?” Let us look at some Biblical principles concerning speech. These verses can become an important foundation to your thinking when you are being verbally abused.

1. Words Are A Manifestation Of the Heart.

A person will always say what is in their heart. Jesus said in Matthew 12: 34, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” When a person is verbally abusive towards you, sometimes, there is a reason for it. You have said something or done something to offend them. If this is so, then far better to obey God’s word and clear your conscience regarding them (Acts 24:16]. Maybe this person is running from something. Maybe they have done something in violation of the Word of God and without realizing it they are soothing their conscience by lashing out at you. Perhaps, this person is envious or jealous of you.

2. Truth Spoken Will Last Forever

Proverbs 12:19 tells us, “The truthful lip shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.” As British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli said, “Time is precious, but truth is more precious than time.” Truth will always keep its ground. It will always be truth. It will outlast all human institutions and will survive all kingdoms. It has been said that telling the truth often hurts but telling a lie leaves scars. Always tell the truth and there will be no regrets. Frequently, verbal abuse is full of lies. Never spread lies about your abuser.

3. It Is Always Right to Speak the Truth but Not Always the Right Time.

You must not overreact. You must learn never to carry your feelings on your coat sleeve. It may have wounded you deeply, but you must learn to separate your feelings from the facts. You must take some time to pray and think and reflect before you respond. When religious radio speaker Warren Wiersbe received a nasty letter he put it aside in a special file until he felt ready to answer it in a proper spirit. The Bible says in Proverbs 26:4, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him.” The next verse says the exact opposite,” “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.” Timing is everything. There is a time to speak and a time not to speak. Better yet answer your accuser face to face in a gentle spirit. If a fool is speaking his foolishness in such a way that it will cause others to stumble into his foolishness, then that may be the right time to answer him.

Proverbs 15:23 says, “Joy is found in giving the right answer. And how good is a word spoken at the right time!” (NIRV) James 1:19 says, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” Proverbs 29:20 makes it clearer still, “Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” The Book of Ecclesiastes 5:2 says, Do not be rash with your mouth,
And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore, let your words be few.”
If you get into a confrontation with a fool, you too will be taken for a fool. Best to walk away and leave him swimming in his own folly. Only a fool argues with another fool. The only fool who looks bigger than a fool is a fool who argues with a fool Best to learn to remain silent and not get tarred with his brush. Proverbs 26:4, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him.”

A good rule is: When in doubt, think it out! Don’t react. You do not always have to give an answer. Proverbs 13:3, “He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.”


Robert Bryant