Today, I’ve been reflecting a lot on what I’ve been teaching the teens in youth. We’ve been exploring wisdom and the book of Proverbs. The older I get, the more I realize that I still have so much to learn. Everyday there is an opportunity to learn something about yourself, God or others, if you are tuned in to what the Teacher wants to teach you. I’ve always liked the book of Proverbs, even when I was running from God. I think the reason I like it so well, is because it simply shows you the cause and effect of your actions, good and bad.
I came up with three quick “Rascally Proverbs” that I’ve learned through my life so far. The first one is “The more crow you eat, the easier it is to swallow.” It stinks to admit when you are wrong. There have been moments in my life that I’ve thought beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was right about something, only to quickly realize I was completely wrong. Nothing is quite as embarrassing to have to eat a heaping pile of crow in front of those you’ve vigorously argued against. The crow slowly morphs into a nice fat slice of humble pie with each swallow.
The second one is “Jealous or untrue words against someone is like a baseball bat to the knees.” The bible says, in the book of James, that we praise God with our tongue and with the same tongue we turn around and curse our brother who is made in God’s image. Blessing and cursing come out of the same mouth and it shouldn’t be. The old phrase, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me,” is a big gigantic lie. Words hurt more than anything else someone can do to you. Words of others can paralyze you. Words can weigh you down. Words can make you unsure of yourself. Words can make you doubt. Words can cause you grief. Words can make you sick. Words can make you bitter and angry.
Yet, if we allow the holy spirit to guide our words they can bring peace to someone’s sorrow. These words can propel people toward a goal. These words can lift heaviness off of someone’s shoulders. They can make someone believe and trust again. They can make people smile. They can make people grow and flourish. God reminds me daily to bridle my tongue, sometimes I let words slip and I need to quickly apologize when that happens.
The third and final Rascally proverb of the day is, “Forgiveness rescues your heart and soul from disease.” There are people throughout my life that were hard for me to forgive for various reasons. I remember being so weighed down by unforgiveness that it anchored me in hate. I was hurt and instead of letting hurt go, I fed it. That unforgiveness and hurt made me rebel against God and any other authority in my life. I blamed God for what people did, instead of seeing that it was their fault, not His.
But, as I progressed through my life, I learned that I diseased my heart by letting unforgiveness grow there. I tried to keep the hurt enclosed in a petri dish inside my heart but it was growing out of control. I was destroying myself with it. That unforgiveness was released when I saw someone I hadn’t forgiven; completely broken themselves. I saw them sobbing and spiritually devastated. I could’ve easily laughed and say that’s what they deserve, but instead I saw them as human again. Weak flesh, like me. Fragile, so easily broken. Compassion overwhelmed my heart and I went to them and let them cry on me. I started crying too; with each tear drops of forgiveness melted within me. The balm of forgiveness repaired hearts and relationships that day. “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other;as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:12-13.
God, continue to teach me daily. Help me to see when you are trying to show me something and help me to extend your love to others.