As long as I live I will never run out of material to write about because doggonit–I just keep “stepping in it.” I guess I can view it as “job security.” Every once in awhile, though, I pleasantly surprise myself by being aware of what I stepped in before God has to use a bullhorn. This time it was a gently nudge and I actually listened and obeyed.
I had coffee with a new friend last week and in the process of sharing our stories, I realized she was very, very good friends with someone who has hurt me and is connected with many others who have hurt me even deeper. It’s a very long story and sounds very “Jr. High Girl-ish” but nevertheless, the pain is real. I tell you that, not to make you feel sorry for me, but to point out how my reaction to this information was also very “Jr. High Girl-ish.”
I did a couple things right and a couple not so right. I was feeling pretty good that I chose not to use names and didn’t give details of the betrayal I felt. That was the right thing to do. But I did manage to over-share about how her friend used to be my friend but no longer acknowledges me and a few suggested motives for her doing so. I dragged her into something that had nothing to do with her. Super-Mature.
That goes against everything I have read and studied and prayed about for the past few years; letting God do His job and not taking revenge into my own hands and forgiving others and proving it by not talking about the offense with, say, people that are not part of the problem.
I could have caused much more damage had I not invested myself in learning those things. I could have told all, taking advantage of an opportunity to get the “real” story out there and warn her about certain people. It could have been complete mayhem! But luckily, gratefully, I have learned a little and been humbled enough to not go ALL the way down that dark road. But I still danced around at the beginning of that road long enough to regret that I said anything at all.
So here is where the good part comes…I apologized. I felt that thing in my Spirit–God nudging my soul–that told me I had said too much. I had attempted to damage someone’s reputation so that I could have just the tiniest bit of justice (or is it revenge?). I told my new friend that I was sorry and that I shouldn’t have brought that up with her. She was gracious and we moved on to other topics.
But here comes the kicker (and this is where God gave me a little break from the guilt and shame of feeling “caught”). I hadn’t done my reading for the day, so after I made my amends I turned to the reading for the appropriate date and here’s what it said: “Watch your words diligently. Words have such great power to bless or to wound. When you speak carelessly or negatively, you damage others as well as yourself. This ability to verbalized is an awesome privilege…You need help wielding this mighty power responsibly.”
Ya think? My first thought, or feeling, was, “Phew!”. Glad I made that apology before I turned the page. What a relief that I listened to God’s whisper instead of making him have to yell. Maybe next time I’ll listen before I “step in it.”