I was getting ready early one day recently. There was somewhere I needed to be. This would normally be one of those occasions where I would treat the children on our way, since I made them get up extra early. But I didn’t. What used to be a special bonding time for me and the kids now only smacks of judgement. You see, probably over a year ago now, someone made a remark that in essence suggested that I was misusing my resources to do such a thing. Of course, they didn’t fully understand and it was an offhanded comment, one that I rejected as soon as I heard it. However, it has impacted me greatly. I can no longer even consider going to this particular place where we used to go treat ourselves without hearing that remark and feeling the sharp sting of judgement.
I thought about how many times I have done the same thing to others. Not intentionally trying to hurt anyone, but in an effort to be funny or quick-witted or included even, I have said something in haste that I regretted as soon as the words were out of my mouth. And no amount of apology can take them back! I remember one particular occasion many years ago, a friend of mine wore a pink jumper to school. She loved it. She felt awesome in it. And she asked me what I thought about it. Me, being an idiot, said, “well, I wouldn’t wear it (because of the color).” Unfortunately, this girl had the same skin and hair color as me and suddenly felt as though it was awful on her. No amount of explaining that I just don’t like pink could make up for what I had said. She never wore it again. I still feel badly about that.
The Bible tells us that “the tongue has the power of life and death” (Prov 18:21a) and “the soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit” (Prov 15:4). I think we can all attest to the fact that this is true. Even in our recent experience of random acts of kindness, we can see that those doing the acts as well as those receiving are blessed – why? Because kindness and love are the starting points of healing.
When you think about it, many of our illnesses both mental and physical can be related to a hurt in our spirit. A wound that never healed. A lie you always believed. But what if we spoke to others with kindness and love. One kind word can ignite a spark in someone that will bring light to a very dark heart. What if we were intentional in letting others know that they are valued, significant, and loved? Couldn’t that give room for God to begin a healing in someone that otherwise would not have happened? Romans 14:19 instructs us, “so then [we] pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” God wants us to be kind. To build each other up – not tear down. To love – not judge. And in Ephesians, Paul writes, “let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (4:29). We need to be ministers of grace and healing. Ambassadors of love.
I can’t take back those things that I have said in the past. I pray that those I have hurt will forgive me and find healing for the pain I caused. I forgive those who have hurt me. But today is a new day. God’s faithfulness is new everyday and I will begin today to focus on using my tongue to speak life into others. Won’t you join me?
PS. And Tammy, if you happen to read this – wear pink, it looks awesome on you! 😉