Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Deadly Words


It was one of those days. 

Conflicting emotions and tumultuous thoughts rolled around in my mind. Unwanted tears streamed down my cheeks as they always do when I'm grappling with something difficult. I brushed them away in frustration, wishing I could deal with conflict without all the heavy emotion.

The day dawned beautiful. The sun was streaming through the windows as I sat down in my worn chair, and cracked open my Bible to attempt a re-group, first thing in the morning.

It had happened again. A close friend spoke to me with harsh, angry words and I had no idea why she didn't choose gentleness. I'm just not wired that way. I find it really hard to even confront someone in love if it's necessary, so I really do not "get" the whole "punch 'em in the face with  words or capitalized (yelling) words (if it's in writing)" mentality. The craziest thing about it, is that I apologized immediately. I went too far, though when I actually said I deserved her rebuke. Basically I communicated that the way she treated me was okay when it was not. She did not apologize to me for her harsh tone. I made a mistake. It wasn't intentional. In fact it was a small misunderstanding in light of friendship that spans over twenty years. She didn't stop to consider her friend and the possible thoughts and motives of that friend or the tenderness in my heart. She had a knee jerk reaction and gave it to me with both barrels "in your face" style.

As far as she knew, everything was fine. She shot me and I fell down dead. She moved on. I did not. In fact her actions over the next few days communicated clearly that our friendship is of little value to her and this is why my heart was so heavy. However, God values me and He is the only One who has the privilege of defining who I am. I will learn from this experience and develop character and discernment as a result, so in the end it is a gift. He is the only perfect friend and the only One that deserves my complete and total trust.

Obviously neither of us is perfect and over time, this too, will heal. I don't do friendship/relationships perfectly. I struggle with communication just like anyone else. I hold things in, agonize over it, and slowly process. I don't think "on my feet" in the moment so I don't say what needs to be said and that's probably why she didn't have any comprehension of the effects of her actions. In that moment, I activated my "big girl panties" and took responsibility for my own mistake in the matter.

Does this give me the right to hold her actions against her?  No.  She is just as imperfect as I am.  We are both messed up sinners in need of a Savior and as long as we live on this earth, we will hurt others and we will experience hurt from others.

If you are prone to speaking harsh words, please don't do it. Don't act on your emotions in the moment. Once those words are spoken, you cannot take them back. The greatest commandment is to "love one another" and I don't know about you, but I sure don't feel the love when someone is that blunt. If you are a slow processor, take the time to really work through it and process everything with God. When you are ready, revisit the moment and work through it with the person, if they are willing. Above all forgive......as you too, need forgiveness.

I didn't intend to hurt her, but I did hurt her. Even if you do not intend to hurt, take responsibility for the pain you have caused and own it. Whether you deserve the harsh words or not, try to understand where the person is coming from and ask God to help you see that person through His eyes. If you have assaulted someone with harsh words, please ask their forgiveness.  Harsh words communicate hatred. All the recipient will really hear is that they messed up and they are of no value to you. 

"Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them--this is the Law and the Prophets.."  Matthew 7:12

Would you like to be treated the way you treat others?  If not, it's time to assess your heart and ask God to help you grow in that area. I am glad He gently shows me the flaws that need work and guides me with love as I grow.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him."

James 1:5 ESV

"Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?"

Romans 2:4 ESV


  1. Thank you for writing this! I had a similar experience with a friend earlier this year. Still trying to heal.

  2. Thank you for commenting and sharing your thoughts, Debbie. It is so difficult to navigate relationships, isn't it? I'm praying you heal well and fully.
    Blessings to you. <3