Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. — James 4:7-8a
My devotion this morning was on “When to Surrender”, which I thought an odd topic. Shouldn’t I want to surrender all the time? The reading went on to clarify — we are best served to surrender when it is our choice rather than after we’ve been driven to our knees and devastated by Satan. Later in the day, I had the opportunity to experience this for myself.
Throughout the morning I struggled with making some very unhealthy choices. The urge was strong, but I could feel the Holy Spirit nudging me in a healthier, more productive direction. Yet, I was steeled against surrendering. I was just going to do what I was going to do and THEN I’d surrender. It made perfect sense in the moment.
Things didn’t go as I expected. I kept getting interrupted. Nevertheless, I was determined to take the negative action as soon as I had the chance. Then, in the midst of the struggle, my morning reading came to mind, and I realized, “Nanci, this is the time to surrender.” Almost immediately, my body relaxed, the desire to make unhealthy choices was gone and I was free. Just that quick. I saw so clearly how the “when” can be my choice; not after the devastating consequences of making poor choices. Experience is always the best teacher.
God truly is working in our lives every moment making each day a Wonder-Filled Journey!
At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father — Philippians 2:10-11
Proverbs 18:21 — Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life]. – Amplified Bible
As a child, would I run to my mother crying because someone called me a name or said something hurtful. She would hug me and then say that oh-so familiar phrase — “Remember … Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me. ” I know this was meant to be helpful and empowering. But, it never quite took away the pain of the words. My husband often urges me to “not be so sensitive” and “let it roll off my back.” Again the intent is to be helpful; to ease the hurt and pain. But, it never quite takes it away.
Words do hurt. Words can cut through a person’s heart and scar them forever. Words can lift a person up or send them spiraling down. Once out, words can never be un-said and they can change things forever. Today I received an email that the sender obviously did not intend for me to see. There were hurtful words and mean intent in the email towards me and another woman. My heart sank when I read it. I held this person in high regard! I truly liked and admired her! And, then this. My entire perception of her changed. The glow of knowing her was gone.
For the next few hours, I worked on forgiveness. I know that harboring anger and resentment only hurts me. So, I prayed; I thought of God’s Grace and our messy humanity; I thought of the good things this person has done. And, I asked myself … “when have I done something similar?” My answer: “More times than I care to remember or count!” Gradually, the hurt eased, the anger lifted, and forgiveness settled in. I’m at peace with it now. I can even kind of chuckle at the absurdity of it all. But, those words have changed things forever. Even with forgiveness, i will never see this person in the same light again. It will take a while to trust her and feel at ease in her presence. I may not feel resentment or hurt, but I also don’t feel love and safety.
So, please … remember this the next time you are tempted to say or write something hurtful and catty about another person. Envision God standing over your shoulder reading the email or standing at your side as you wind up the tongue for a mean delivery. Think of his grace and unconditional love and extend that to the person instead. Sure, it can be hard. Spiritual growth is definitely NOT for sissies! But, I can guarantee you will feel like a million bucks, and so will the other person without even know why! That’s how love and positive energy works. It’s impact is great. Commit today to always strive to be kind and uplifting to others in thought, word and action. The world will be a much better place for us all.