I’ve been hit! I’ve been hit! I think I’m about to die. You wanted to get something off of your chest so you sprayed bullet words. Projectiles that tore through me — and you don’t even care! I think they hit a major artery. I think I’m fatally wounded. There’s searing pain, blood all over. I can’t breathe! I don’t know if I’m going to survive.
And you know what? You barely even know me. That’s why one of hardest things for me to do is to forgive you when you don’t see or admit that you’ve done anything wrong. I offended you, but you murdered me. You walk away, leaving me to die. But you’re guilty of murder.
You think you’re such a great Christian because you are active in church. You go to Bible study or sing in the choir or in the praise band, or are a Sunday school teacher or an elder. But you think nothing of murdering me with your words.
“Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue is also a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell” (James 3:5-6).
There’s something about me that you don’t like. So you’re bound and determined to right the wrong in me. It isn’t a major character flaw, but it sends you into a rage. It’s as minor as leaving a dirty cup out, forgetting to put it in the sink. But it enervates you. You think you have a right to express whatever’s on your mind. So, you unload on me in an effort to beat the hell out of me. You pummel me. I guess you think I’m your verbal punching bag.
You think you’re such a great Christian because you are active in church. You go to Bible study or sing in the choir or in the praise band, or are a Sunday school teacher or an elder. But you think nothing of beating me up with your words.
“Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man unclean. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man unclean” (Matthew 15:17-20a).
You smile at me, but you turn around and stab me in the back. You smile at me but there are daggers behind your eyes. All your friends know how you feel about me. Your family does too. Because of you, people look at me differently. How dare you smile at me? You don’t mean your smile. Why don’t you just come to me and work it out? It would be so much easier that way. But you don’t.
A while ago, I tried to talk to you but you deny that there’s anything wrong. Yet, you keep nursing your grudge. Don’t think that I don’t know. Your inner thoughts are affecting how you treat me and see me. You’ve pegged me. You won’t let me climb out of the pigeon hole you’ve put me in. You think you know me. But you are looking at me through a keyhole and making judgments. How can you think that you know all about me and my character when you see me through such a limited vantage point? Maybe, just maybe, things aren’t what they seem. You are slandering me behind my back and in your heart. You refuse to forgive me. Yet, I must forgive you even though you won’t forgive me. It’s only in Christ that I can. I cannot do it by myself.
You think you’re such a great Christian because you are active in church. You go to Bible study or sing in the choir or in the praise band or are a Sunday school teacher or an elder. But you think nothing of stabbing me in the back. You think nothing of your unforgiveness.
“Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. “The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart” (Matthew 18:25-35).
Your words are sprinkled with sarcasm. Your words give me little cuts. But you smile and say you’re just joking. You ask me, “Why can’t you take a joke?” You say, “Quit being so serious.” But you always find ways to get a dig in. Your put downs are serious even though you deliver them with a smile. You wound me again and again. Sometimes I think you intend to cut me with your words. Maybe I’m wrong though. Maybe you’ve gotten so used to putting me and others down that you don’t recognize it in yourself.
You think you’re such a great Christian because you are active in church. You go to Bible study or sing in the choir or in the praise band or are a Sunday school teacher or an elder. But you think nothing of murdering me with your words. But you think nothing of slicing me with your words, all the while with a smile on your face.
“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to vie account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:33-37).