Originally published Sunday, 28 June 2015.
Her stance said it all. Her head was cocked to the side in just the right way, her eyes looked from left to right and her lips almost kissed the ear of the woman she was speaking to.
It's interesting how the sin we think we keep so discreet is often so apparent.
She was gossiping. Clear as day, I could tell just by looking at her that she was gossiping.
And, sure enough, as I walked by her, I heard the complaints running a mile a minute about another. I also felt them run like a rabid animal right into my heart. I felt like my insides were being eaten with the venom she was speaking because I had trusted her with my own heart.
The truth is if someone speaks poorly to you about another, they are likely speaking poorly to another about you. Deep down you know you can never trust that person again, because they will plaster your heart on the biggest billboard in town.
Words cut faster than a paper cut and their effects last a lot longer.
They push others away.
They can make you untrustworthy.
Do your words build trust or deplete it?
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Prov. 12:8
While I am sure her discussions were just a way of connecting with another,
or showing that she was valuable and interesting,
or highlighting all the pain that she is going through,
or bringing up issues that she thought were important,
or making herself feel good,
they sure weren't healing, helping or heartening.
But her words get me thinking about my words.
Although they may not be prone to gossip,
how prone are they to injury?
Am I piercing or healing?
Helping or hurting?
I don't want to be the one remembered for the horsepower of my mouth.
Or by the crippling force of my words.
Or for my steamrolling comebacks.
Or for my speedy concierge advice.
Yet, the hard truth is, my words have not always been flowers to a broken heart.
They injure my husband when I question his plan.
My son, when I give him a "Ya, ya, ya" and then look at my iPhone.
My loved ones, when I snap back annoyed.
Myself, when I chide my heart for bad actions.
Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Prov. 16:24
My words compel my heart to forgive her bad words. Will I share my heart with her again? Likely not.
Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. Mt. 7:6
I certainly don't want to be trampled again, yet, I won't condemn her for her bad actions, because I am just as at fault as she.
When we forgive the one who has hurt us, we are acknowledging and activating the power and grace of Jesus Christ. We all need more of that.
What power of Jesus do you need to let flow from you?
Who might God be placing on your heart to forgive?
Likewise, who might you need to turn to and request forgiveness for words that have cut to the core?
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— Eph. 2:4-5
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