For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and has been tamed by mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With this bless we God, even the Father; and with this curse we men, who are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceeds blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Does a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? (James 3:7-11 KJ2000)
Today, I had something happen that my heart is still smiting over many hours later. I got too comfortable in a conversation with this dear sister in Christ and the next thing I knew I offended her with the words of my mouth and if she had not felt the freedom to tell me so, I would still be ignorant of it! Well, after I saw what I had done and asked her forgiveness (which she did grant) I turned right around about 15 minutes later and did it again! God only knows how often I have wounded my own wife over the years!
There is a saying that familiarity breeds contempt. I was not trying to hurt this sister, but I just got too comfortable with our relationship and forgot that she is a tender child of our Father and that I needed to respect that and be sensitive to her for this reason. Out of my mouth was coming both sweet water and bitter. In one moment I was blessing her and unwittingly in the next I was hurting her. “My brethren, these things ought not to be so!” The conversation ended on a positive note with tears shed, but these things aren’t easily forgotten even by the best of hearts.
As I later prayed about it the Lord showed me that at the root of what I said was a reaction to things I had suffered as a young man… rejection by the young ladies I grew up with, especially the pretty ones. I had not forgiven them and that bitter root was still down in there putting forth its fruit even with one who has never rejected me in any way! Jeremiah wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). But we know that God looks upon the hearts of men, and HE knows them! He just wants us to see our hearts as HE sees them and times like these happen for a reason.
In Hebrews we read,
And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; (Hebrews 12:13-15)
“Lord show us our bitter root judgments that we still harbor in our hearts from old wounds, that we may truly repent and be healed before many become defiled by them. Father, make straight paths for our feet and let us follow after peace and holiness (wholeness) with all men and women, least out of our fleshly ways the weak and the lame become offended and are turned away from You by our words and deeds. My Father, continue to do a deep work in my heart and let your Son’s ax be laid to the root of everything that is still down in me that is not of you. Amen.”