Words hurt

Proverbs 21:23 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

23 To watch over mouth and tongue
    is to keep out of trouble.

Recently I was with someone who has been struggling with illness. It has caused some problems with mental abilities and the result can be disturbing. Memories are skewed and sometimes things are said that really hurt. It is hard to remember that the memories are not accurate and the words spoken come from a disoriented place.

words hurt

Words can hurt. We have to be careful about using our mouths to upset someone else. My father used to say “put your brain in gear before you put your mouth in motion.”….something we all need to keep in mind.

In the case of those who can’t monitor their words forgiveness and understanding are important. The rest of us have no excuse.

Be careful using words.

Teach me

Psalm 119:65-66

65 You have dealt well with your servant,
    Lord, according to your word.
66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
    for I believe in your commandments.

We all need to be taught. We slip so easily into doing the wrong thing. We have to be reminded that we stray from God’s path. There is so much to tempt us. We are bombarded with TV programs that make love of others and kindness seem outdated. Violence is present in computer and video games. The exposure make it seem “normal.” God calls us to turn away from hatred and turn back to love and compassion. We need to be taught God’s ways not those of the world.

Never presume

Romans 15:1-2 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

15 We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Each of us must please our neighbor for the good purpose of building up the neighbor.

dont-judge-my-path

How often do we look down on others for something they can’t help. So many who suffer from mental illness are thought of as “less than.” They may be functioning members of society fighting their demons every day but that is something we can’t see. It is so easy to be judgmental. Never presume weakness. It may actually be enormous strength that we can’t see.

Put away anger and hatred

Ephesians 4:31-32 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

31 Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

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This world needs this verse from Ephesians. Everyone seems so angry. So much division and hatred. It seems to me to every major religion in its pure form teaches peace, compassion and love. Put away your anger and bitterness and every day show your love for one another.

Prayer for those in distress after Dorian

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Lord God, the people affected by Dorian need your loving and healing hands. Send your grace to uphold them. Their anguish is great. Give them peace and hope in the days to come. Remind us all to help where we can and be generous with the gifts you have given us. We pray to you in the name of your son Jesus Christ. Amen

caring and praying

It is a wonderful thing to care about others. Putting feet to the caring is the next step.

It is a wonderful thing to pray. Putting feet to the prayer is the next step.

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Notice the girl in the clip. She is actually doing something.

Sometimes doing something is not possible but when it is… do it. Too often the caring stays in our minds and not in our actions.

Caring and praying are critical. Just remember to follow through with the next step.

Imitate God

We so often want God to think the way we do. We are right and our view of justice should be done. We often think about an “eye for an eye” which actually tells us to not ask for more retribution than we are actually due. But God is not us and does not look at things the same ways we do.

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As Isaiah says of God, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8). Yet I am afraid we often pull God down into “our thoughts.” We naively and erroneously think fear, anger, intimidation, threat, and punishment are going to lead people to love. Show me where that has worked. We cannot lead people to the highest level of motivation by teaching them the lowest. God always and forever models the highest—love—and our task is always to “imitate God” (Ephesians 5:1). From the meditation of Richard Rohr

God is love and love is always his answer.

Cruelty from weakness?

All cruelty springs from weakness.        Seneca

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This quote really make me think. Are those who are cruel using their dominance to assure themselves of their strength? They are looking for strength in themselves. The place we need to look for strength is our God. God is always there ready to hold us up. We are not weak when God is with us. My aunt always said “God hates ugly.” By that she meant those who are unkind or cruel. We don’t need to be cruel to find strength.