Growing up, I was always aware of the “four-letter” words that I should never say. And for the most part, I didn’t. In high school, I let the occasional word fly just because some of my friends did. As a Christian I became convicted that curse words really did not belong in my vocabulary. However, I have learned through time that there are some four letter words other than curse words that can ruin our lives. Here is a list of four letter words that can have a negative impact on our lives.
Envy – Envy is defined by the dictionary as: “1. wanting what somebody else has: the resentful or unhappy feeling of wanting somebody else’s success, good fortune, qualities, or possessions and 2. to want what somebody else has: to desire something possessed by somebody else.” The real problem with envy is that we become dissatisfied with who we are and what we have. Envy leads us to negative emotions and thoughts. It leads to the comparison game and the feelings that we are entitled to what someone else may or may not have earned, but have anyway. Envy even leads to other sins like theft, lying and murder.
Lies – I would be lying if I said that I never lied. I have. And there was a time in my life when lies crept out of my mouth easily. It is something I am always working on and struggling with. Scripture is quite clear on how God views liars. John 8:44 has this to say about Satan, the father of all lies “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (NIV)
Lies are a trap that catches us and snowballs out of control easily. We find ourselves creating other lies to cover the original lies until sometimes we don’t even recognize the truth from the lie. Lies destroy trust, comprise integrity, ruin marriages, and devastate lives.
Lust – Lust is a powerful emotion that can lead to many sins. Lust for sex, lust for power, lust for fame, lust for idols; all of these can lead to sin. In the Bible most references for lust are for sexual lust or lust for worshiping false idols. In today’s society lust is rampant, and unfortunately, the church is not exempt from experiencing the it’s deadly effects. The number of Christians who have fallen prey to pornography and extra-marital affairs is staggering. I have know of ministers, elders, and church members who have decimated a church because of giving in to their lust.
Just look at King David, who gave in to his lust for Bathsheba. That led to the murder of a trusted soldier, the death of his child, and the eventual decline of a kingdom. Gratifying lust has negative c0nsequences even though it may seem good at the time.
Hate – While there can be some positive connotations of hate, such as hating sin and hating injustice, more often it is the negative side of hate most people focus on. People form hatreds based on the stupidest of things sometimes, and they let their hatreds rob them of joy in life. Many times hatred is based in envy, greed or disappointment. In Genesis 37:4 we see that Joseph’s brothers hated him because of envy: “When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.” It led them into the sin of selling their brother into slavery, lying to their father about his death, and feelings of guilt for what they had done.
Hate is often based on envy, jealousy, and hurt. It is only through the power of forgiveness and love that we can overcome the feelings of hate and bitterness.
What is the solution? There is one four-letter word that can help overcome all of those sins. Envy, lies, lust, and hate. All of them can be overcome by LOVE, the most powerful of words. We have a God who loves us with an everlasting love. Dwelling in his love, we can learn to love others. We can learn to encourage instead of envy, tell the truth instead of living a life built on lies, live in purity instead of lust, and love instead of hate.
What about you? What four letter words do you struggle with? How do you learn to overcome the negative things in life and build on the positive things? Living a life based on the good instead of the bad, can have many rewards. Philippians 4:8-9 says “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (NIV)