Speaking Life and Death

I just recently had a conversation that did not go as well as I had planned.  It actually did not go well at all. I had planned on confronting and speaking the truth in love to a close friend of mine over some things that I saw in her and some things that I was offended about.  I really wanted to handle things the right way. And I originally went into the conversation with that intention in mind but found that in the middle of it all, I couldn’t handle what was being said about me, and it got ugly fast.  Jeff tells me just because I feel it doesn’t mean I have to say it. But I kind of do. However, I need to be careful how and what I say, for sure, and as in this case, I needed to “shut it” long before I did.

But, for so long, I was unwilling to reveal to anyone what offended me. I would just bury the offense and slink away from the offender instead of dealing with it and talking about it. And then the relationship was broken anyway, because I refused to handle it, and resentment festered. So, it has taken courage for me to be able to say what I feel needs to be said for the relationship to be mended. But I need to be gentle in how I say it and not get offended when things are said about me and it doesn’t go as it was originally planned, which it very often does not.

So, in this particular conversation with my friend, I just ran off at the mouth and hit below the belt, and I’m close enough to this person to know where it would hurt the most, and so I targeted my very harsh words and aimed straight for her heart. I was in the middle of saying something when my phone AND her phone cut off at exactly the same time. We both had to recharge our phones and thankfully couldn’t continue the conversation…one of those God-things.

She later apologized over an e-mail for what she had said. But I just wasn’t there yet. I knew I would eventually apologize, but I wasn’t going to fake it.

I didn’t end up apologizing to my friend for a few days. I was still kind of holding onto some things that had been said. And I was really trying to sift through and pray about what she said that was truth and what she had said just to hurt me.  

That weekend, we had a family reunion with Jeff’s family, and Jeff’s aunts have a time called Kuzin’ Kamp for all of the kids. The kids spend a couple nights at one of his aunt’s houses, and Jeff’s aunts do Bible lessons and crafts with the kids, and the kids get to swim. Jeff has a rather large extended family, so there are quite a few kids milling around that need supervision.

I was helping one of Jeff’s cousins with the preschool children, and she was teaching a Bible lesson about what we are to do with different parts of our body, and the very first day her lesson happened to be on how we are to use our mouths. Seriously? “Ok, Abba, I get it already.”  I knew immediately that the Bible lesson was not only for those pre-school age children but was especially for me. Abba loves me so much that He’s going to make me deal with the junk in my heart and not let it weigh me down unnecessarily.

This cousin talked about how we often use “life” words and “death” words and how we can use our words to build each other up or tear each other down. And then, she used blocks to demonstrate her lesson.  She started saying all these life words like “I like you” and “You do that so well,” and each time she did, she starting building a tower with blocks. And then she used death words like “I hate you” and  “You’re ugly” and as she did, she knocked those blocks across the floor. And as I watched those blocks tumble across the floor, I realized what I had done to the friend that I had the fight with. I had spoken death to her.

It took blocks and a preschool lesson for me to get it, but I heard it loud and clear.

I apologized to my friend as soon as I got the chance. And, thankfully, my relationship with my friend has been reconciled and restored.

I have often found myself praying that Abba would put a muzzle over my mouth and not just when the wicked are around like in Psalm 39 but all the time. In Psalm 19, it says, Keep me from stupid sins. May the words of my mouth…be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” It’s just not true. Our words have a long-lasting effect that, unfortunately, cannot easily be forgotten.

…but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.  James 3:8-9

Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD;
       keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3


1 Response to “Speaking Life and Death”

  1. 1 lhug143
    August 9, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    oh girl! boy can I relate, more than once too! wow, building blocks huh? why didn’t i get such a visual and sweet lesson like yours, mine is usually harsh, loud and boom, right in my face. I guess it takes more for me to get it sometimes! It takes me awhile to let my heart soften toward one particular person and I know it when it starts! I think if you have a history with that person, you can also have ammo and that can be dangerous. It sure stinks sometimes being a female with a mouth, at least for me, it can. Thanks for sharing – it amazes me how alike we are! luv you girl!

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