the knowledge of how deeply another’s words to me can sting is a truth i often forget until it hits me all over again.
have you ever felt anything more painful and shattering? years may have passed but i can still vividly remember, in painful detail, things that were said to me YEARS AGO.
oh sure. we learn to forgive. and some times we even successfully let go. but some times 4 tiny, little words come back to haunt us at the most inconvenient times.
i felt that this past weekend. my heart felt like it was crumbling into dust.
and the thing about me? when i am hurt, i lash out in bitter anger. my darkest, most shameful moments are those when i am deeply hurting myself. the truth is i am very rarely angry – you can typically tell when i am, because i’ve become much better at channelling those emotions. i run farther and faster than i ever have before when i’m angry.
but when i’m hurt? when i feel like every inch of my 5″4 height has been torn down to the ground? THAT is when i look like i’m angry. but i’m not.
i have never really figured out how to express sadness and heartbreak. it’s something i have struggled with my entire life.
and in moments when i yell things that should never be said, to the one person i love most, and her door is slamming in my face and her eyes are glossy with tears – that’s when i know i’ve gone too far.
and i feel smaller than ever.
because i know how she feels. i know what it’s like to have someone you love interrupt you mid-story to tell you that they really don’t care about what you have to say, that they’re not interested in the least. blunt. sharp and straight to my heart.
i know what it’s like to have those people pick apart your words and actions and leave you wondering if there’s anything good left in you at all or whether it’s all just the ugliness they see.
to be so proud of something and have it left in shreds and tattered pieces because it just wasn’t enough for them.
i say i really know all of this, but if it’s true that i do, why on earth would i ever act the same way? how is it that i can be on the other end of a sharp tongue and use my own like a sword against those i love?
and the Bible shares so much with us on this subject.
Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. ~ Ephesians 4:29 (this one became my new background on my iPod last night – a perfect reminder)
Some people make cutting remarks,
but the words of the wise bring healing. ~ Proverbs 12:18
Take control of what I say, O Lord,
and guard my lips. ~ Psalm 141:3
Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.
3 We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. 4 And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. 5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.
But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. 6 And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.
7 People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! ~ James 3:2-10
at times, i convince myself that i’m a victim but i think the truth is that i’m much of the problem.
how much more could i give if i learned to listen instead, and learn to recognize if those with the sharpest words are those with the deepest hurts?