Words that hurt, words that heal

I've been feeling really burdened about words and the way they are used lately. The weather is gloomy today, which puts me in a contemplative mood. For the past 8 years Jeremiah and I have watched people around us eat each other alive and kill each other with words. For the most part we've been on the outside- we've watched it happen, comforted those hurt by it and sat in frustration over not being able to do anything about it. There have been times we've been attacked and sadly, there are times when we've said things we shouldn't have.

Now I see things that have been brewing starting to boil. Once again I start feeling sick and upset over it . . .what can I do about it? Do I just have to stand back and watch people destroy others? Nothing makes me want to go crawl in a cave more than that.

So last night I pulled out an old favorite book. It's called "Words that hurt, Words that heal" and is written by a Jewish Rabbi "illuminating the powerful effects we create by what we say and how we say it." In light of that, I'm going to keep my mouth shut about the rest of the details here and just quote this one story he shares. Convicting to me, as I think about all the things I've said over the years. I hope you find it that way too! I think I'm going to use it for an object lesson with our boys, too. Just got to find a feather pillow.

In a small Eastern European town, a man went through the community slandering the rabbi. One day, feeling suddenly remorseful, he begged the rabbi for forgiveness and offered to undergo any penance to make amends.

The rabbi told him to take a feather pillow from his home, cut it open, scatter the feathers to the wind, then return to see him. The man did as he was told, then came to see the rabbi and asked, "Am I now forgiven?"

"Almost," came the response. "You just have to do one more thing. Go and gather all the feathers."

"But that's impossible," the man protested, "The wind has already scattered them."

"Precisely," the rabbi answered. "And although you truly wish to correct the evil you have done, it is as impossible to repair the damage done by your words as it is to recover the feathers."

Oh Lord, put a guard over my mouth and keep me from saying things I regret!


Popular Posts