I KNEW I HAD A TOUGH WEEK AHEAD when I wrote the blog article: Psalm for one tough day.
That’s why I wrote it. I was suiting up.
I don’t know if it helped.
We can strap on all the Bible verses we want, along with the
- belt of truth.
- body armor of God’s righteousness.
- shoes of peace.
- shield of faith.
- helmet of salvation. Ephesians 6:14-17
They can’t stop a single hurtful word. They can’t even slow it down.
The hurtful word hits us like we’re standing naked on a stage.
People speak the hurtful word when they are trying to get their way.
The sour truth about a hurtful word is that once it is spoken, it cannot be unspoken.
I heard a hurtful word not too long ago.
I did not speak.
I listened. I felt. I thought.
Then I found myself wondering about the unpardonable sin because forgiveness did not feel like an option.
It didn’t feel reasonable, justifiable, or even possible.
Those who blaspheme God’s Spirit will not be forgiven, neither in this world nor in the world to come. Matthew 12:32
I know that verse is talking about the Holy Spirit, the third entity in the Trinity. But I remember something Paul wrote:
God’s Spirit lives in you. 1 Corinthians 3:16
As I reflect on hurtful words I’ve heard, I wonder if it’s okay to consider them unforgivable when they demean the spirit within us…the spirit of you and me that is living with the Spirit of God.
It’s a stretch too far, I’m pretty sure.
Still, the fact remains that a hurtful word lives as long as the memories of those who hear it.
Try as we might to forget it, ignore it, or pray it away, it remains a part of us.
We may call it forgiven, if we must. But I’m not sure that forgiven is the right descriptor when the word remains within us – vicious, painful, and anchored.
Maybe sometimes the most effective treatment for dealing with a hurtful word isn’t scripture, prayer, or conversation. Maybe it’s distance from the speaker.
Stay away from a fool,
for you will not find knowledge on their lips. Proverbs 14:7
A dartboard might help, too. I’m still looking for that Bible reference.
Random book winner this week
I give away one free book a week to a randomly selected subscriber to my free blog and quarterly newsletter.
Carlton is random this week.
I am currently participating in a form of therapy called “Dialectial Behavior Therapy”. It is a set of specific skills that help people deal with anxiety, stress, overwhelming emotions, etc. One of the skills is called “Burning Bridges”. It sounds really harsh, but what it means is to disconnect yourself from anyone who will encourage you to participate in mentally unhealthy thinking, feeling, speaking or actions. It is ideal that you disconnect while using another skill titled “Non-Judgmental Stance”, but the disconnect is very important.
Stephen M. Miller
Thanks, Erin. That’s reassuring. The disconnect sounds so unChristian to many folks, and contrary to what we’ve traditionally been taught about forgiveness.
Yet some of my life experiences suggest that the best place for some family and “friends” alike is in the rear-view mirror. Permanently.
It is so interesting that you wrote this today because I have had two trials hit me simultaneous — one has been resolved, but there will need to be healing to mend the situation. I believe staying away from the situation will bring me peace. It is very hard for me being a disabled man taking care of an 81 year old mother, but I manage. I have learned to depend so much on prayer (what else can I do?) — a very wise man and brother in the Lord gave me this advice: “Prayer should always be our first resort, not our last resort.” I have found that true. I have also tried to avoid situations that take away my joy — which sometimes is not possible — so I just go back to prayer. Eventually, something will change, either me or the situation!
Stephen M. Miller
Sorry for those troubles, Wayne.
I know what it’s like to wake up thinking of the trouble, after falling asleep thinking of the trouble.
Sometimes the biggest part of the trouble is the troublemaker. In that case, the best solution may be to shut the door and lock them out of your life.
Peace to us both, brother.
I’m very sorry that happened to you. I was recently verbally blasted by a loved one. I agree that distance is a good thing. Who needs that in their life? Unfortunately, out of sight, out of mind is not always the case. I didn’t want my upset thoughts to tumble around, making a way for bitterness to take root in me. Ephesians 4:31-32 was the scripture that allowed me to pull through. My flesh wanted to be so angry about it all; but as I rephrased this scripture as a prayer begging God to help me, peace was restored to my heart. Of course, I’m not at all dismissing what you have said. I agree, but just wanted to pass along what helped me. Plus, let me add some kind words for you today…Thanks for all you do. I so enjoy your writings, and I’m learning many interesting Bible tidbits through you. Have a blessed day!
Stephen M. Miller
Thanks, Francie. I know what you’re saying. It’s true. There’s a road to peace. It runs alongside the fields of prayer, and scripture, and reflection.
What I’m saying is that sometimes the highway to holiness needs to take you away from the Black Hole that’s sucking the joy out of your life.
Peace to you. And happy trails.