“Who do you think you are?” I screamed out in utter frustration and complete defeat.
“Well I guess I’m a hippy!” My ten year old son screamed back in his utter exasperation and anger.
If it wasn’t for the fact that we had been fighting for the last HOUR over what shorts he was to wear to school that day, I could have seen the ridiculousness of our exchange but in that moment, there was only anger and hurt.
It was picture day, I had picked out his outfit the night before that A-matched, B-was clean and not wrinkled, and C-I knew he had worn before. It was therefore, a complete surprise to me that on this day, of all days, my son decided to pitch a fit about his shorts complaining that they were too loose. A belt was not acceptable in his mind and therefore not a solution to the problem.
Around and around we went about those shorts…ending in what was a meltdown on both our parts. We both yelled and quarreled. My son did wear those shorts that day but the words had already been spoken and hung in the air like a thick cloud. Worse of all, I sent him to school with the cloud of our words hanging between us. I may have won the battle but had I lost the war in the process?
I might be a parent who needs to work on my child’s obedience and yeah, I probably could use some anger management classes. I have no idea. But really, all I cared about in that moment was the words. The words I spoke in frustration, the words I spoke in anger, the words I used to get to him, the words that drove us apart…Words have such power and can literally set our lives ablaze in the worst possible way!
I’ve been studying James all year and recently just prepared a teaching for our young adults group on the Power of the tongue (James 3:1-12).
James says in verses 7-9, “People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God.”
I think about the many times daily that I live this way. I can speak praise to God one minute and in the next minute I can yell at my kid and say the most hurtful things. James tells us, “Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!” (vs 10b).
So what can I do? I can repent. Repent means turning around….I must keep turning back to God’s word and to what He says is right, and then doing/saying what is right. This is not a one time turning but something I am in constant need of. It is my daily (minutely) struggle. It’s so simple though, COME BACK TO GOD.
I am daily in need of a restart. How about you?
When have you spoken words that do not bless but curse? Who needs to hear your words of apology and repentance? Hear the call of the Lord today to come back to Him. There is plenty of mercy and grace at the cross.