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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Who are you talking about?

A few weeks ago, I heard through the family grapevine that one of my family members had made some comments about D and my parenting choices that were very, very hurtful. Well, not so much the parenting choices because this family member doesn't have children and that can affect how you view the parenting styles of those around you. But the comments this person made about D's personality and development were so painful to hear, I actually cried when these statements were shared with me.

After I had some time to get a hold of myself, I felt the Lord prompting at my heart.

And so, are you ready to forgive him?

A few summers ago, the Lord used a wonderful book study to help me truly learn that as a Christian, I can forgive anyone of anything at any time. He is quick to call me on any unforgiveness I allow to start festering in my heart and nearly always quickens my spirit with the words of Hebrews 12:15, "See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." (NIV)

As I nursed my wounds over this family member's statements, I already knew this question from the Lord would be coming. As soon as I felt that prompting in my spirit, I was all ready with my defense.

"I know you want me to forgive him, Father, but you gotta cut me slack. This is my child we are talking about! My sweet, innocent, lovely daughter, whom You created by the way, and the things he said were just. so. wrong."

Ah, but our Father, He reminded me that I am to see to it that I extend grace to this person. The same grace extended to me when I do things that are just. so. wrong.

I surrendered up my hurt over these statements and allowed the work of forgiveness to be worked out in my heart through the power of Christ Jesus, in whom I have the ability to forgive.

It was after this that I began to think about how deeply painful it is for parents to hear their child being spoken about in a way that is less than loving. Hmmmm, less than loving. How many times have I spoken about people in a way that is less than loving? The ease with which I use my tongue for gossip . . . the judgmental declarations over that person whom I really know nothing about . . . the biting and secret sarcasm to cut down the very family member who had so badly hurt my feelings.

I have to wonder if each time I speak about anyone in a way meant to disparage rather than build-up, does our Heavenly Father cringe with the same anguish I felt when I heard was spoken about D? Is that person not also His child?

When God allowed those things my family member had said to be revealed to me, He knew exactly what He was doing. He was taming my tongue by speaking to me in a language I am fully immersed in the knowledge of - parenthood. More and more I find that when I am tempted to gossip or slander or curse or judge, I stop myself with the reminder that this person is Someone's child.

"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be." James 3:9-10 (NIV)