Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Healing Words or Reckless Words?

Lately, I have been trying to imagine the words that God would use to respond to me if I had a certain conversation with Him. It all started a couple of weeks ago after an email conversation that I had with a friend. I have to say, I am glad that God does not send me important messages via email, and I should probably take His example to heart and refrain from this myself. But, on this day, I did send a semi-serious message to a friend of mine. I prefaced it with "I know this sounds sort of silly, but I need your prayers..." I continued on to explain something that I was struggling with, and even though it was sort of childish, I really wanted to overcome it. When God said in His word to confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed (James 5:16), I took Him seriously and have tried to find a few people in each season of my life that I can be honest with. In my recovery program, there is a saying, "You are only as sick as your secrets." Having kept secrets at different times in my life, I have experienced this to be true. So, my friend is a believer and usually a good listener. I also know she is a faithful prayer warrior. I spelled out my dilemma and prayer request, without justification, knowing that no matter what part of the situation was not my fault, I still wanted to honor God, but I was also struggling with some feelings of unworthiness. Her response was a little, well, let's just say, cool. She did say that she would pray for me but then reminded me that I am unworthy of anything good (since we are all sinners) and I should just put on my big girl panties (in a sense) and act like the child of God that I know I am.

hmmmm.

I sat, stunned. Knowing the truth behind the words she wrote, but I just wasn't feeling the love.
And it got me to thinking, if I had just had the same conversation with my Lord, what would He have sent back to me in an email? My prayers had been saturated with asking for help in this area for weeks and I have not felt like they had fallen on deaf ears. And I wondered if I should have just kept this between me and Him. And then I remembered His word.
Now, having a bit of hurt (with the possibility of resentment) going on, I did go to my spiritual mentor, a woman older in her faith (than either my friend or myself) and shared my hurt, my questions, and finally just asked for her advise. What she said to me was like healing ointment to my wounds; words that were laced with grace, mercy, and truth. Then she suggested that I set up some boundaries in the area that I was confessing (that was really the question...was I acting unChrist-like to remove myself from a situation?). Boundaries; one's that protect me from pain that is not being initiated by God, allowing time for God to continue the healing that He has begun in me.
But I still wonder how God's words would have sounded and what words He would have used. I believe I heard them from my wise, older friend......

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 12:18

God, help me speak wise words when the opportunity presents...when others are hurting, confessing, or just trying to sort things out. I ask that you would always guard my tongue so that my words would not pierce, but that they would heal.

4 comments:

grey like snuffie said...

And the crazy thing is that same person could have spoken the healing words to someone else that same day...we are CRAZY people. I know I can be like that sometimes...encouraging one minute and chopping someone off at the knees the next.

We all certainly have the opportunity EVERY DAY to learn how to roll those hurtful words off at His feet and to find a balm for our wounds...to learn how to keep our hearts tender. Good for you that you went to your mentor...we all need them...it's so cool that God has given you someone to share with....

Lelia Chealey said...

Really makes me think before I speak or type...I don't ever want anyone on the other side of the table or the computer hurt from something I've said or not said.
I'm glad you went to your mentor...wise decision.
love,
Lelia

Jo Anne said...

I love reading your posts. They are so thought provoking and just...deep. I think it's something that we all struggle with, using our mouths to build people up or tear people down. Now it seems that our thoughts on an email can do the very same thing! God Bless you Liz!

Letters From Midlife said...

Words are so powerful and the thing about the written word is that it can be taken wrong OR it can be written without thinking how it will be perceived. You are probably right in your perception of the email but instead of dwelling on that, take the sweeter words of your mentor and let them bring life.

This is an area I have to constantly be aware of because my tendency is to speak out of reaction instead of thinking first and measuring the impact of my words.