#Write31Days Challenge – Post 25 – Carefully Quiet

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There are some subjects, that I am carefully quiet about.  It isn’t that I have an opinion, or that I am disregarding biblical truths about the subject.  I’m just careful about when I speak, what I say, and how I say it.  I brushed on this topic a few days ago on my abortion post.  While I am prolife, and stand for the life of the baby… I am carefully quiet when it comes to slinging names at the women who have had an abortion.  There are too many women grieving, receiving post abortive counseling … to recklessly throw my words across a screen or in a public gathering. 

Many women who are aggrieved by their choice already feel guilt or shame.  Their hearts are burdened, and many of them are secretly so.  Not every woman who has had an abortion is ready to share her story.  I have no idea who among my social media friends, or those reading this blog, may have had an abortion.  Instead of casting judgement upon the women, I would rather focus on the lives I am fighting for and love on those who are broken over their decision.    So, when it comes to social media posts on this subject, I am carefully quiet.  I think through which news articles I will share, or memes make my point.  I focus on saving life versus condemning women who already suffer.

I have seen too many people on social media, that are representing our faith, become reckless with their words.  They do not thing beyond themselves and their opinions to the women who are sitting on the other side of the screen, the ones receiving the arrows that are being shot.

“They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows.  They shoot from ambush at the innocent; they shoot suddenly, without fear.”

Psalm 64:3-4

These types of posts are often written (or shared) without any careful thought or concern.  A quick click of a button, and the damage is done.  There was one instance , where a woman I know shared an article on social media that was really cruel.  When someone called her out on it, she ducked the rebuke by saying that she had only shared it in order to read it later.  This was either a lie to save face, or total irresponsibility on her part.  It didn’t matter the damage was done.

“Words once spoken, like an arrow from a bow, cannot be recalled.”

It may seem obvious at this point that we should be more careful what we say in public settings about big controversial topics.  Maybe we are being a bit careless, letting the tongue fly in the face of unsuspecting victims.  We could use a little more caution, think through what we are going to say, or take a quick pause before hitting the share button.   This is great, but we need to also think through the less controversial things we say recklessly.

I know of several women who take a very strong stance that not only is motherhood is the greatest calling that God gives a woman, some go to the extreme and claim it to be the only calling on a woman.  Be a wife, be a mother.  End of story.  They share internet articles, blog opinions, and scriptures to validate their claims.

I can’t help but think of all the infertile women reading those posts.  

I know of women who are keyboard activists in regards to the idea “breast is best”, who use careless words to support their cause.  They shame mothers away from bottle feeding using statistics, quotes, and shame.

I can’t help but think of the young moms I have encountered who feel like failures because they can’t do the basic thing their body was designed for.  They cry because they have been shamed into thinking they have now compromised their child’s future.

Why do we feel that we are so right (or righteous) that we can just sling words without any concern for what we are saying, how we are saying it, and whom we are saying it to.

There is a reason the scripture refers to our tongues as a sword, or that our mouths will reveal our hearts.  Judgmental, divisive, and angry words reveal a bitter, proud heart.

When we take the time to stop, and carefully consider our words… we discern what to say, how to say it, and when to speak.  We also learn when to be carefully quiet.  Not because we don’t have truth to say, but rather because we love those who are hurting.  We are willing to take a pause and look for a better way.

 

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There Are Some Things You Simply Can’t Fix

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My husband and I were talking the other day, about friendships and just relationships in general.  Sometimes we mess up, we say things we shouldn’t have even though we were joking.  Or, we speak into a person’s life when we have no authority to do so…. or at least were not invited to share our opinions.  Sometimes the person is carrying emotional baggage and is extra sensitive & you were unintentionally careless with your words.

In situations like this, my husband and I can recognize we messed up.  We even try to fix it and make it better.   But, unless the other person is just as invested in the relationship… it’s going to be a one sided battle.  And no matter what you do, how many times you apologize, how many different ways to try to repair it… you can’t fix it alone.  It won’t matter if you saw it coming and tried to be proactive, or if the damage is done and you are trying to repair… you can’t force the other person to value the friendship like you did.  Repair and reconciliation must be something both people want and are willing to work toward.

And, if the other person doesn’t want it…. you have to be able to let it go and move on with your life.   You learn from it, grow from it, and become (hopefully) a better person from that experience.

Romans 12:18 – If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Only God can soften someone’s heart, once they have hardened it.  Only the Holy Spirit can move them and convict them into the path of reconciliation.  But through Jesus, we can pray for that person.  Because of Jesus, we can extend copious amounts of forgiveness and grace…. and ask for the same in return.  We can confess our wrongs to Jesus, and seek His forgiveness, even when others have become unforgiving.

And we can have hope that reconciliation with our brothers and sisters in Christ will happen, it just may not happen on this earth.  But, we will be reconciled in Heaven as a body of believers.  And then, as we are celebrating together, whatever it is was that separated us will be like grains of sand at the bottom of the deepest ocean.

WHEN SCANDAL IS EXPOSED

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Your grandmother’s pearl necklace is a treasured family heirloom.  You toddler looks at it every time she passes your dresser.  It hangs from a special stand, it calls at her… longing to be held.  Every time she asks you if she can wear it, you tell her no.  Or, not right now.  You know in your head this is a special gift you want to give her on her wedding day.  She doesn’t know or understand that at all, she just knows that she wants to touch it.  This curiosity carries on for years.

Mom, can I wear it?

No, not right now.

When?

When you are older.

Why?

I don’t want you to break it.

I promise, I won’t!

I am not taking the chance.

One day, you happen to be distracted in the garden.  You are preparing your spring plantings.  Opportunity has presented itself, this time temptation overwhelms.  She sneaks in to your room, climbs the chair next to your dresser, slides the necklace of it’s stand and around her sweet little neck.  She hears the front door open, fearing getting caught, she panics and attempts to take the necklace off, and return it to the stand.  It snags.  Pearls fly every where.

Enter mom.

You see the pearls strewn about the floor.  You are angry.

You look up & see her tear stained face, lips quivering.  She knows she was wrong.  She knows she is trouble.  But worst of all, she knows she broke your heart.  This necklace that meant so much to you, is in pieces… just like her spirit.

What do you do?  How do you respond?

Do you point in her face, exclaiming how you knew this is what would happen?  Do you take to facebook, twitter or your blog and brag about you just knew this would happen, that it was impossible for your child to control her self?  Or, do you scoop her up and love her first…. worrying about the pearls later?

How would you feel if you shared this story with your friends, and the next day you find hundreds of shared posts about how your daughter messed up, questioning your parenting for leaving her inside unsupervised, that they always knew you were a bad parent, had bad children, etc?

What if your daughter could see all of those comments hurled at you, about your family?

This is the scenario that runs through my head every time I see some sort of major scandal break the news.   Particularly when it is a high profile Christian, or Christian family.  Very quickly the masses weigh in:

I always knew there was something wrong with that family, they can’t be that perfect.

I knew there was something untrustworthy about him, I just couldn’t put my finger on it.

What a hypocrite, teaching his church one thing, while he lived another!

She had it coming, something about her just seemed off. 

No wonder her marriage failed, look how she treated him!

… and the list could go on forever.

In these comments, we are bragging about ourselves at the expense of someone’s deep pain.  And, even if “the guy” or “the girl” was wrong, totally, we ignore that they have a family (or church family) that is hurting too.

We don’t restrain our words, we just let them fly loosely, sticking where they land.  We don’t recognize that they are landing right in the lap of the woman who was cheated on, the church that was taken advantage of, the victims who have been trying to heal, and the children who have had their hero exposed to be a villain.

This isn’t a blog article to vindicate those who are guilty, to excuse their behavior.

It’s just a caution, that when a scandal breaks… before we do that victory dance, bragging about how right we are…

…. let’s not forget that someone is hurting in a way we can’t fathom.

Someone just had their world torn apart.

Someone just had an old wound ripped open.

Someone needs you to say, I am sorry this happened to you…

… more than they need to hear how right you were.

Someone, needs your prayers.