Have you ever found yourself in a conversation where the other person says things to you -well intended, of course- that are rude, hurtful and judgmental? Well, I have, more times than I care to say. In fact, I’m pretty sure, I have been on both sides of the spectrum; the giving and the receiving. But to be honest, for several years now, and ever since my health issues began, I unknowingly developed a worthless attitude toward myself that if I had left uncheck, could have destroyed me by now.
A sinner does not have to be told he or she is a sinner, this they know well. A sick person does not have to be reminded over and over again of their condition, it is clearly evident. A neglected wife does not need to hear constant criticism to understand she is no longer loved, and a small child does not have to be abandoned to feel unwanted. Sometimes our words speak louder than our actions, and perhaps you may have been a victim of negative words being spoken to you. Sadly, what is spoken over us (or directly to us) -wether purposely or innocently- has the power to crush us and hurt us deeply.
When I was recovering from my open heart surgery, a visitor came by and made it a point to mention how irresponsible I had been with my health to have gotten so sick. I remember feeling judged and guilty, and so I excused myself and left to my bedroom, then king them for stoping by. I sat at the edge of the bed crying, unable to even pray because I felt underserving of God’s attention when I had done such a poor job taking care of the temple He had gifted me with. I read somewhere that hurtful words can be forgiven but never forgotten. I can tell you that I still feel the sting of that conversation. The guilt and shame it left me with were excruciating!
I wish I could say that was the only incident that made me feel worthless and broken, but I have been in several of those awful conversations that left me feeling “less than”. Nevertheless, while some people will continue to exercise wrong choice words, bad timing, and judgmental attacks to an easy prey, I want to tell you something my brother in law, Dr. Wilson Morales would often say, “be careful who you allow to speak into your life.” Since that incident, as practice for myself, I hear things, but then, I make it a point to examine the persons’s character. Now, I always ask myself these questions as guidelines for who I allow to speak into my life; Do they live according to their message? Are they people of good character? Does their presence bring peace and tranquility rather than sorrow, turmoil, and condemnation?
We’re living in a society that likes to dictate to us who we should be or how we should behave, think, believe, dress, or even become, based on its own guidelines of what is politically acceptable. The problem with that is that int often conflicts with God’s word, or His expectations for us. I want to help you rise above ill intended comments, posts, messages, and actions that are not edifying, but instead are meant to harm you emotionally. How? Here are a few suggestions that have worked for me:
- Remind yourself that you are trying the best you can, and that no one said you need to be perfect.
- Throw away the bad and keep the good natured, edifying and affirming comments.
- Fill or Busy your mind with positivity and life-giving things.
- Don’t lash out in anger, instead choose a most excellent way. If you feel the urge to criticize or vindicate yourself, instead -take a deep breath- be kind and let it go. -I know, it’s hard, but it’s possible.
- Love God, yourself, and people. You can never go wrong with that!
I pray that today, you will continue to try your best to become a better daughter/son, spouse, mother/father, friend, boss, employee, servant, and person.
1 Corinthians 12:29-31 (NLT) Are we all apostles? Are we all prophets? Are we all teachers? Do we all have the power to do miracles? 30 Do we all have the gift of healing? Do we all have the ability to speak in unknown languages? Do we all have the ability to interpret unknown languages? Of course not! 31 So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts. But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all…
(Read 1 Corinthians 13) Love is the most excellent way!