I can’t count the number of times I have ended a day thinking about the things I should not have said. It isn’t that I was being purposefully mean or angry. It also isn’t that I seek to hurt someone else, ever. It is more that my instant response is not always my best response. I often will have more insightful and kind things to say if I will just take a moment before responding. This also helps me to be more careful with my tone when I respond. Sometimes my response is fine, it is the way that I say it (maybe the eye roll doesn’t help when it accompanies the words). If you don’t believe me, ask my wife, children, close friends or co-workers. I truly have a heart for kindness and love, but I am also abrupt and a straight shooter. So it just comes out better if I consider my words carefully. And I also do my best to ask for forgiveness when I realize my response was taken in way that wasn’t intended.
Why does this matter? For me, it matters because when things are super intense, most, if not all of us tend to say things we should have left unsaid. We have a tendency to respond with anger or fear. Those words hurt. Those words cause damage. With the amount of divisiveness that we encounter in a day, we can end up saying things to those we truly love that we actually don’t mean if we dig real deep. It is more that we are reacting to what has been said or what is on our mind. I try to tell my kids – sometimes people respond with such anger not because of anything you have said or done – but because of something else they are dealing with. It all compounds and eventually somebody ends up getting an earful that really doesn’t deserve it.
What’s said is said and what’s done is done – so the saying goes. But I disagree. Sure, the words are out there. Damage has been done. But there is such a thing as forgiveness and grace. There is still mercy and love. There is still time to find the humility that is required as someone who follows Christ. There is still an opportunity for repair – even if it is a minor repair on a total destructive job. Minor repairs mean something.
Today, may our thoughts be according to the outline from our focus scripture. May our hearts be eased and our minds be freed of our anger. May our words find ways to heal and build, not destroy. May we find a way to speak kindness in an otherwise harsh world. May it begin with me.
8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Photos included in Devotions are captured by David Cain – The Cain Gallery. Photos are available for sale by contacting The Cain Gallery