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A Not-So-Tasty Mouthful December 5, 2008

Posted by Michelle Knoll in Devotionals.
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Sometimes my heart gets ahead of my head.

I have a lot of very dear friends.  A lot of these friendships have been created in the heat of battle.  Or maybe I should say “warfare.”  For a lot of these friendships have been cemented through the avenue of intercessory prayer, which is warfare in the truest sense.

I love to pray for people.  I do.  It’s one of those things that I consider a passion.  That doesn’t mean that it’s not frustrating at times.  It’s hard to balance what you sense within your own spirit, with what you hear  and see in the natural world.  It’s hard to keep your focus when you’re under attack.  And sometimes, it’s down right impossible to keep your mind and heart centered on the task of interceding, when you’re angry over injustice.  Or character assassinations.  Or just plain ugliness.

I often wonder why people say that Jesus was a wimp or a weakling, and I wonder all the more why paintings of Jesus made so many centuries ago depict him as a… I don’t even know how to describe those paintings.  All I know is, they don’t show the real Jesus.  At least, that’s my opinion, and you’re perfectly free to disagree with me.

But think about it.  Jesus was beaten, for crying out loud!  He was beaten to the point that He couldn’t be recognized!  And His beard was torn out of his face.  I can’t stand for someone to pull my hair; it aggravates me to no end.  And yet, Jesus’ beard was pulled out, his face was beaten to a totally unrecognizable form, and his body was ripped into strips of flesh. 

And yet… HE endured it, and didn’t say… anything

Could I do that much?  Could I be verbally assaulted, physically abused, have my life wrecked by others who don’t care anything at all about what they do to me, and never say… one word?

I don’t think I could.  I think there would come a point during the abuse, where I would not be able to withstand the desire to fight back.  I would want to return point for point if it was verbal abuse, or I would want to raise my fist and pound the face of the first person I came near, if it was physical abuse.

And if a friend of mine is coming under attack?  Then it’s even harder for me to pull back and not do or say anything in response.  It’s very hard.  Down right impossible.

I’m just not as good as Jesus is.  I don’t know that I will ever be on this earth.  I strive to be loving and forgiving, because I long to please the Lord with every part of my life.  But there are times…

And one of those times came today.  A friend of mine was being attacked, and though the attacker would cry out, “No, I did not!”  there were multiple witnesses to the fact that yes, things were said that were critical and that assaulted my friend’s character.  The attacker would say “I’m just trying to state the facts” but fact-stating can get over into gray very quickly.  Because the motive of the “fact stater” has to be addressed.

Like a boss of mine from so many years ago would have said, “What’s your point?”  In other words, why bring this up now, at this point in time, in front of this audience?  What, exactly, are you trying to accomplish here?

So I read the comments of the accuser, and my heart got in the way of my head.  And clear thinking went out the window.  At least, for a minute or two.

Another dear friend of mine tried to console me when I vented my anger over this attack, and basically told me, “it’s been handled.  Let it go.”  But no!  I just had to rise up in defense of the person being attacked.  I just had to say something!  And yes, I did write something out and then agonize over it, for fear that I would be attacking the attacker just as much as my friend had been attacked.  I wrote, and deleted.  Wrote… and deleted. Wrote… looked at what I had written… deleted… rewrote… looked at it again… deleted… rewrote… agonized… looked at it again, and then finally saved it.

And then sent it.  All of it.  Thinking I had done the right thing.  “Come to the aid of my fellow countryman…”  and all that sort of thing.

But… my words didn’t do what I had hoped.  Instead, they worked opposite of what I wished they would have done.  The person attacking my friend’s character wasn’t moved by what I had said.  Not at all.  And I doubt that person will ever listen to another thing that I say.  Ever.

Was God honored by what I did today?  Was He impressed with what I wrote, and the manner with which I delivered my thoughts?  Would God’s will have been better served if I had just kept my mouth shut, and retreated back into my prayer closet?  After all, my passion is to pray for others.  Why did I feel I needed to speak up?

Granted, there are times when we should speak up.  There are times when a voice needs to be heard.  But you’ve got to be sure…. oh, so sure…. before you open your mouth.

What was that verse again, Father?  You know, the one You had the psalmist write?  The one about “where there is a multitude of words, transgression is unavoidable”?

What was that you said, James?  “No man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” Yeah, I heard that!  And what was that other verse you wrote? “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.”

Oh, ouch.

But, James, didn’t you have another verse to go along with those?

 “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.”

OUCH.

So, I have put my foot in my mouth, once again.  And now I have to deal with a “not-so-tasty mouthful.”  Again.

Dear Jesus, could you do me a favor?  Could You please help me to remember that my opinion is not the fourth member of the Godhead?

In Jesus’ Name I pray, amen.

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Comments»

1. syinly - December 5, 2008

Great post. I battle with being verbally abusive to others and being too sarcastic sometimes. We are human and sometimes our heart gets in the way of our head. I have acted out of anger before and regretted. In the midst of some things it is hard to pray. I know when I’m angry I don’t want to pray. I just want to re-act because it feels so good, to let somebody have it. God understand it all, that’s the good thing.

2. The Cookie Lady - December 6, 2008

Oh, yes, aren’t we blessed that God understands! But I want to remember that He said we should be “swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” It’s okay to be angry, because He said, “Be angry, and sin not.” So we can get angry, but it’s what we DO with our anger that makes all the difference! Even though I mess up so many times, my heart’s desire is to first not get angry, but if I do, to take it to the Lord and talk to Him about it before I talk to anyone else.

But thank God, He forgives when I fail him! And He’s able to fix my mistakes!

3. Barbarian - December 16, 2008

I think a lot of the way Jesus is portrayed is because people don’t really understand why he didn’t say anything while being beaten. I think the general norm for a real man is to go down fighting, to never give up, take as many down with him and he always dies in the act of spearing his greatest enemy. Which is pretty much what Jesus did, but in the secular person’s eyes, he quietly bowed out and let them murder him without a word of protest. The beginning part of this post just brought that to mind!

4. The Cookie Lady - December 16, 2008

Wow, Barbarian. I was reading your comment, and the picture that came to mind when I read “go down fighting” was Bruce Willis and the roles he has played in movies. And I think you’re right, the common idea of a “real man” is someone like that. But a “real” man is one who knows who he is, and “Whose” he is, and what he’s about, and what he’s to BE about (“don’t you know I am to be about My Father’s business?”).

Of course, I’m not a man, so there’s probably more to it than what I know. 🙂 But thanks for your comment! Please share more of your thoughts, okay?

5. artsong - December 18, 2008

I enjoy your posts so much. You said you have a passion to pray for others…could I ask you to pray for me? I’m just closing up and walking around in a daze.
Thanks so much! And Thanks for your thoughts and comments.

6. The Cookie Lady - December 18, 2008

Sure! I will pray for you! And I will visit your blog to see how things are going for you.

Be blessed, and know that even when it seems like nothing is happening, God is still at work in you, perfecting His good will in your life. He never stops working on us, even though sometimes it seems that He does. Just rest in that, and don’t forget to fellowship with Him on a daily basis. Even if you don’t think you have anything to say to Him, you know? Fellowship with Him anyway, because He wants to minister to you and take care of those deepest needs.

You are a blessing! 🙂

7. bellasierra - March 25, 2009

I hope you don’t mind me snooping I just thought this was a really sweet post. Prayer for others is a selfless act and that’s truly admirable.

All the best to u.

-Bella

8. The Cookie Lady - March 25, 2009

Hey Bella,

I don’t mind you snooping at all! I welcome your comments. Thank you for reading my posts.

God bless you too!


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