James said it best, that in all of creation, the tongue is the hardest thing to tame. We tame and train large wild animals, but cannot seem to control our own little tongue, one of the smallest things in the body. Made in the image of a God who created everything with His spoken word, we are created to speak in order to bring more space for love, peace, and blessing. It doesn’t always work out that way.
This week as I put the finishing touches on an article for the newspaper entitled, The Power of Our Words, I prayed briefly and reacted too quickly and without wisdom to a post I saw on social media and ended up hurting a friend.
While we’ve known each other for over 11 years and experienced working, learning, and praying together during a 2 year period, I leapt when I should have kneeled. Call it surprise, shock, or concern, my mouth went into gear before I had time to hear the Father clearly about how to respond. When we are stunned by something we see in another, that should be the very thing that leads us into prayer. We can never know the whole story by what is seen in one photograph.
So realizing the wound I’d caused, oh boy did I pray then! The Father reminded me of my heart for women and what He has called me to do, and how that can never step in front of the leading of His Spirit in my life. After all, it’s His Spirit who called me to teach and coach women with the truth of who they are in His eyes. So it is His Spirit I need to listen and obey.
When I contacted her, my friend shared more of the story, giving background information of which I was completely unaware, and helped me to understand. And whether or not I feel something may be wrong, doesn’t make it mine to help or correct. It was mine to seek God and then reach out to her. Because of my reaction, it was then mine to ask forgiveness and thankfully it was granted. We talked through it and our relationship is restored, hopefully, stronger than before. To know that I have a friend who gives grace and forgiveness is a treasure.
Another difficult lesson learned? Yes. I will never be a perfect friend, but I am a loyal and honest friend, so when my honesty hurts another it brings many tears to my eyes. I am also a friend who has learned to ask forgiveness. Making excuses or rationalizing over reasons why only waste precious time and deepen wounds.
And I also remember that I have an enemy who loves nothing more than to trap us and then shame us. In order to give the Lord the praise for this experience, I am sharing the story here with you. We certainly need our hearts to reflect the unfailing love of the Father that is sent out continually to us all and available night and day. As we grow deeper in Him, that becomes possible.
Never let yourself get too big that you hinder a true apology coming from your heart when you’ve hurt another. Lessons like this are part of the journey and require courage of us. While another serving of humility may not taste very good, it is always good for the soul.
Glad for grace,
From the desk by the window where my heart is recovering its joy. – And hey, remember when you’ve messed up, you also need to forgive yourself and let it go.
(c) Robin L. Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, May 5, 2016