Harsh words can ‘chop off’ a person’s ability to hear what you’re saying. When Jesus was betrayed by Judas, He didn’t retaliate even though He could have called twelve legions of angels to His defence (see Matthew 26:53). Then the mob came, laid hands on Him, and arrested Him. At that point, Peter drew his sword and chopped off the high priest’s servant’s ear. He was probably thinking, ‘We don’t have to take this!’ But Jesus said that’s not how you handle things! Then, ‘He touched the man’s ear and healed him.’ (Luke 22:51 NIV).
Peter had a tendency to talk when he should have been listening and got into things he had no business getting into. He needed to learn how to wait on God and exercise humility and discernment. God had great plans for him, but if he wanted to fulfil them, he couldn’t do it by chopping off peoples’ ears when they upset him.
There is a lesson here. You can’t fly off the handle whenever you feel like it. You must become sensitive to God’s Spirit: if He tells you, ‘Say nothing,’ then you must stand there quietly even if it means letting someone think they’re right when you know they’re not. You must learn that God doesn’t owe you an explanation. You can hinder your spiritual growth or God’s blessing in your life when you don’t control what you say. Perhaps you think that compared to adultery or stealing, this is no big deal. Think again: ‘Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.’ (Proverbs 13:3 NIV)