Last night I had a nightmare that woke me out of a sound sleep (I’ll write about that another day). My heat was jumping out of my chest and I was now WIDE AWAKE at 3:30 a.m. No way could I immediately go back to sleep, so as usual my mind started wandering…
And it wandered back to the 4 basketball games that our school lost to our biggest rival that night. And it wasn’t just the losses that I thought about – I rehashed the plays, the calls and no-calls, the fans’ attitudes and words (both sides) and on and on. But what I couldn’t get out of my head was the uncalled for derogatory comment that an authority figure on the opposing side (that’s about as vague and kind as I can be) yelled about one of our players while his parents sat on the front row listening.
And the more I thought about it, the madder I got. I was going to give someone a call in the morning, I tell you. Or better yet – I’ll write letters to whomever I think needs to hear my opinion of his comment. Boy was I on fire around 4:00 a.m. already writing the letters in my head. If my heart wasn’t racing before it sure was now. Yep, I was up for the duration – ready to see the sun rise so I could get cracking on my letters.
Then the Holy Spirit quietly told me to stop. Stop now. So I did. I stopped the ranting going on in my head and slowed my breathing down. And then an overwhelming urge came over me to quiet my spirit and pray. I prayed for the sweet momma who had to listen to the ugliness spewed about her son. I prayed for the father who is doing his very best to raise a godly young man. I prayed for our coaches – I’m constantly in awe of how they do what they do and the countless hours they spend doing it. (OK, I admit it, I didn’t pray for the other authority figure. I’m still a work in progress.) I prayed for our player who plays as hard as he possibly can every single game. I prayed that he will know his identity is in the young man he is and will be in Jesus, not in what anyone says – or screams about him.
Words have tremendous power. That one person’s words could be a defining moment in that young man’s life, and I prayed it would be a moment of victory, not defeat for him. The words that I didn’t write could have started a firestorm that I didn’t need to ignite. And I may not have prayed the most eloquent words last night, but they were from the heart, through the Holy Spirit, for benefit and not for tearing down and destroying.
It took way too long, but this verse finally came to me in the middle of the night: “And we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
And then I read this passage this morning: “Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.” (Matthew 12:37, The Message) Need I say more?
Let’s all be careful of our words – especially in times of extreme anger and stress. I write this not to accuse anyone but because it is an area that I am constantly working on and depending on Jesus for mercy and grace. Like I said, I’m a work in progress but I know I’m making progress because the letterhead is still in the box today.
Have a fabulous, blessed weekend!