this was so quick I had to write in like 10 minutes – after a conversation by texting with someone very upset with something harsh that someone said about their life – or at least that’s how they perceived the conversation… Unfortunately one never knows how the person hearing the words you say will take them…How many times have you said something as a praise and it comes out as a criticism to their ears? Well listening and hearing are different – hearing is different than what is spoken – because of the person hearing – the context taken and the tone it is received in.
so this devotional was written while I was driving to a meeting – and therefore I opened the meeting with it (in a draft version which I have been able to expand upon here) When God wanted me to start being more spiritual at the meetings, I didn’t realize that I was the one He wanted to write it out… I also shared my piece on human trafficking and the lamb of God. it was a great meeting and I got to share afterwards with three pivotal people in this faith journey of mine – three who had the smallest of words but the biggest of impact. Afterwards driving home I saw a shooting star – God IS Good.
“Nothing is more important, Debbie”
That’s what the headline said in my email from my phone company this afternoon…well what is SO important I asked? I doubted it was about church stuff and actually it was about connecting with people – yes that is important… but what came to my mind was when, in a church sermon, I recently heard that “Nothing… nothing is more important than serving Jesus”. Well that I now believe with new rigor. We don’t serve ourselves or our family more importantly than loving the Lord and doing what Jesus taught us. Jesus taught us to be non-judgmental…to love as the most important commandment from the Prince of Peace. To love is the way to achieve peace.
Just yesterday, a friend of mine told me about her cool Sunday School lesson… she takes a hundred dollars out of the bank in small bills… she gives each student a tube of toothpaste tells them to squeeze it empty – they keep squeezing and squeezing until the last drop is out. When they have finished down to the last drop, she then tells them she will give them a hundred dollars if they can get the toothpaste back into the tube… she waves the money at them and gives out spoons – she even has the second graders count the money to make sure it is really $100. They try and try but no – there is no way anyone can get the toothpaste back into the tube – nobody earns $100 and they are sad but they realize that nobody was able to do it. After they all give up – she tell them that the toothpaste represents their words…. really it’s the harsh words, the painful and hurtful words – the insults – the words that you would pay $100 to take back. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could take those harsh words back? I’ve been listening to a song that says “ripples never come back – gone to the other side”. Yes ripples from our mouths only travel one way – out they go… As the words drift away, the harsh words stick to there…. sometimes it isn’t the recipient of the words that the words hurt – sometimes it is the person standing next to them when THEY perceive what has been said. The actions that we take and these words that come from our mouths are really important. Tearing down takes 100-fold more praise to repair – if it is even repairable.
Even though you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube you should try to model Jesus… we are all human and we say terrible things we wish we could take back. We are human – so we constantly have to be reminded to keep the peace. We are reminded to use our words wisely.
I got another Christmas card today, February 10th… I had already gotten one from this wonderful person in early December but they wanted to thank me for my card and for the family movie DVD I sent… They said sorry this card is late – but actually it’s not late – not just because they already sent one – but because it is still Christmas for me… This card says “Peace on earth”… “May your mind and heart be filled with the peace and joy of Christmas”. Yes – your heart AND YOUR MIND – you mind that speaks the words you say. Christmas has been all about peace and love and Christ in my heart AND MY MIND.
Yes peace… to be Christ-like we must keep the peace… May we pray for peaceful words always… may we pause until something peaceful ripples out of our mouths. Peace is achieved through Love,
Peace be with you!