Thursday, June 26, 2008

Guest Post: "Of God's Grace and Words"

Submitted by Meghan G.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,” goes the old and untrue saying. Words are very powerful things no matter how they are used. They can sway opinions, encourage, hurt and influence whether in writing or spoken. Hurtful words are almost indelible; they hurt so much and if more hurtful words are flung at the victim it makes an even heavier mark that stays with the victim for years.

Many times a day I hurt my sister with my words and my mother reprimands me for my behavior but in my weak flesh I do it again and again but by God’s grace and my sister’s grace I am forgiven. Though I am forgiven by both the Lord and my sister my words still leave a mark on my sister’s heart and in turn, she is sometimes unkind to our younger siblings. It is not her fault but my own. If I had simply held my tongue instead of lashing out at my sister, the hurt would not mark my sister’s heart and she would not have lashed out at our younger siblings at a later time. Psalm 55:21, “The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart; His words were softer than oil yet they were drawn swords,” accurately describes how our words can hurt and this verse also directly talks about what the next paragraph is about: our tone of voice.

The tone of voice we use has a very heavy effect on our words even if we don’t intentionally try and sound that way. Countless times I ask for help with baking, schoolwork, my handiwork and I sound like I’m whining and though it was unintentional it effected the rest of my family in the form of my baby sister whining her head off if she did not get her own way. No matter what we say it’s how we say it that matters. Something as simple as saying ‘hello’ to a relative can show them our attitude towards seeing them. In the case of having relatives who are not believers your tone will tell them what your attitude is and they’ll think, “I guess their God isn’t as good as they all say He is if they’re acting so miserable.” What kind of a Christ proclaiming witness is that?

On another note, your tone of voice, words, attitude and everything you do is an example to your younger siblings if you have any, your friends and extended family. If, like me, you are an older sister, you have one of the greatest gifts God could give you: built in accountability partners. They watch your every move, copy you from time to time, and without thinking, they show you up and ask “why did you do that?” oh so innocently and sweetly. Psalm 133:1 says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" Substitute the word “brethren” for “Sistren” and isn’t the verse true? How good it is for sisters to live together in harmony with their siblings? I know it would make parenting a lot easier for my parents, not to mention our family relationships would grow stronger and that would spill over to how we treated our friends. Unfortunately, in our weak flesh it cannot always be like that; that is where grace from God comes in. If we try our best to act selflessly and humbly to our siblings and to control our tongue with God’s help our family environment will be peaceful and happy.

Our tongue is so untamable but for God’s marvelous grace: James 3: 8-12 "But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh." Just in these simple verses, God shows us His grace; He wrote these words through James to speak to us and convict us. That alone is grace and mercy! Hebrews 4:16: "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

Grumbling about chores, commenting about a sibling’s messes, grumbling about babysitting; the list of things we complain, grumble and comment about can be endless. Many times if we comment frequently we are reprimanded but I know sometimes is goes through one ear and right out the other. It all goes directly back to our weak flesh and our tongue. Our tongue is the hardest thing to tame; it all goes back to our pride and self-centeredness. We are so focused on ourselves that we think it’s a huge inconvenience to be asked to do the dishes after lunch or we think we’re higher than doing anything but what we want to do. When it all boils down, A proud and haughty man—“Scoffer” is his name; He acts with arrogant pride, Proverbs 21:24 and Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18.

2nd Chronicles 7:14 is the answer to pride: "if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." The key to holding your tongue is self control and humility and you can not have any of those things without God’s grace and forgiveness. "Surely He scorns the scornful, but gives grace to the humble." Proverbs 3:34
My sister is so important to me, as are all my siblings. She and I are very different but yet the same in a lot of areas. I wouldn’t trade her for anything! I wouldn’t trade all the nights of she and I talking until midnight, I wouldn’t trade the little tickle scuffles we have all the time for anything. I’m sure all sisters in the world have small arguments over stupid things but I know they all repent and ask forgiveness.

There is a verse in Ezekiel and I am not sure if it reads the same in all versions, but it reads the following in the New King James version: "You, who judged your sisters, bear your own shame also, because the sins which you committed were more abominable than theirs; they are more righteous than you. Yes, be disgraced also, and bear your own shame, because you justified your sisters," Ezekiel 16:52.

There are three examples of sisters in the Bible: Mary and Martha, Orpah and Ruth and Leah and Rachel. I believe they had their ups and down’s like any other normal human being. Orpah and Ruth were sister in-laws but they probably lived together with their husbands and got to know one another; Mary was the humble younger sister and Martha was the prideful sister who that her work was more important than spending time at Jesus’ feet and Leah and Rachel had the same husband and in the Bible it says they did not get along. Just because these women were in the Bible doesn’t mean they were perfect. When the sisters were younger I’m sure they bickered a lot like any other normal little girls but it doesn’t mean they were not disciplined and punished for their actions and words. Rachel was jealous of Leah and I’m sure they exchanged angry and hurtful words many times, but they did not have the grace of God as we are so blessed to have now.

God’s wrath was not satisfied until Jesus died on the cross and before the crucifixion; the people had to sacrifice animals annually to pay for their sins. It is important we thank God daily for our families, especially our sister(s) who is a built in best friend. God’s grace is so vast and even if we doubt why God put us in our family, it is His grace He did so! He has a purpose for our life, our family and we owe it all to Him alone.

In Christ Alone, my hope is found; He is my light my strength, my song. This cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm. What heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are stilled, when strivings cease. My comforter, my all in all. Here in the love of Christ, I stand.

One of my favorite hymns has a particular third verse that sums up everything about God’s grace:

O to grace how great a debtor Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.

Only by God’s grace can we control our tongues and speak encouraging words of kindness to our sisters and brothers. But first we must realize we’ve done wrong in our Heavenly Father’s eyes, humble ourselves and ask for forgiveness from our heavenly Father and the person we’ve offended. The more we humble ourselves and ask for forgiveness, the easier it will be to hold our tongues and keep our comments to ourselves. Words hurt; sisters argue and hurt each other, but through God’s awesome (in the true sense of the word) grace, we are forgiven.

Meghan G. is a fourteen going-on fifteen young lady who loves to write, crochet, cross-stitch, read and watch old musicals. She is home schooled by her mother and is entering tenth grade-this will be her ninth year of home schooling. She is the eldest of her four siblings Sara who is twelve, Ronnie who is six and Anna who is three. Meghan loves receiving e-mails and getting to know other like-minded young ladies. Her e-mail is mmbbg72493@gmail.com

2 comments:

Joyful Expressions said...

Meghan,

I would love to give you one of my cross stitch charts featuring Bible verses. I think that you may like the one featuring Proverbs 31 - Strength/Dignity http://www.joyfulexpressions.us/HTML/5x7Gallery/index.htm

Sandra - joyfulexpressions.us

Southern Belle said...

In our home, we have started doing something with our boys. When their words are of a harsh tone, we take vinegar, put it on a paper towel and swipe their tongue. They are more careful on what they say.