My first grade teacher asked my reading group to arrange our small chairs in a circle at the back of the room. I sat between Gloria and Ann. Gloria leaned across me and spoke to Ann in a voice loud enough so I could hear. She said, “Do you like Hazel?” Ann replied, “Yes.” Gloria laughed and said, “I don’t like her at all. In fact I hate her.”
I felt like crying! The color in my face drained and so did my spirits! Even though I had been taught not to hit, I was tempted to slap Gloria’s face! In my six year old mind, I knew I had a choice. I quickly decided that I would pretend that I had not heard Gloria’s remarks. Those Sunday School lessons on loving your neighbor had paid off! I would treat her with kindness.
Years later, I realized that Gloria had been teasing and joking. Some families enjoy pranks and playing those ugly games, but it is not a good practice.
Children can be injured by the words they hear and remember. Scars can be left that often cause insecurity and feelings of rejection leading to emotional and even physical illness.
“Dear Gloria, I thank you for allowing me the opportunity to learn to exercise the practice of walking in forgiveness.”
“I HATE YOU!” Yes, I said those words once when I was very upset with my Mother. Mother quickly responded and instructed me that there are some words to which a person should never give a voice. The word hate is one of them. She let me know that the person to whom I had spoken these words would always remember what I had said! Ouch! Thinking back I still remember the first grade incident.
Mother continued, “No matter how much you beg forgiveness and say you are sorry, they will continue to remember those words you spoke in haste.”
“Yes, Mother, I love you and I do not believe I have ever told a person since that time that I hated them.”
The Bible was Mother’s tool for emphasis. It made an impact on me! Mother explained that the Bible tells us not to stay angry. While it is not a sin to be angry, it is our obligation to make things right with the other person before the sun goes down.
“Ahhhh Thank you dear Mother....”You taught me to forgive even when I did not feel like forgiving! You taught me to keep certain words unspoken.
So my friend, here is my challenge to you. Are you setting a watch before the words of your mouth? Do practice telling those who are close to you that you love them?
Do you use words to show your love even as you show love by your actions? Take special care to use words of respect that build up and not words that tear down relationships. Words can hurt or words can heal – it is your choice.
And, last of all, are you also acting out the Lord’s Prayer and forgiving those who you think are sinning against you? Just do it! It’s a lot easier to forgive the more often you do it.
Thank you for allowing me to make a joyful noise today!