When the thing you say hits the hardest and the deepest, there is nothing you can do about it. Like a concrete fist hitting the tender face of someone you love, the words come flowing out and you shouldn’t have but you did and there is no going back. You didn’t mean for it to hurt—you never intended that—yet all the while for so many years you’ve been thinking this thought, though you would never say it out loud… until you finally did. And your hearer crumbled.
Angry, stormed out, left you dumbfounded because they are just as dumbfounded as you are that you could say those words, the ones that you know you’ve always wanted to say and the ones you’ve always known would do the damage you just did. And the deed cannot be undone.
But it’s been years. You’ve carried these words, these thoughts, with you for years. Every time you see the same pattern, you want to say those words, the biting ones, yet you bite your tongue. How do you say the best thing when you want to say the most truthful thing, though that thing will sting? It is a difficult balance.
In check. Everything about you is in-check most of the time and rarely do you act on the things that are the unthinkable. Your health is balanced, social scene is active, spiritual life is aligned in the ways that matter—you are the picture of self-control.
Then the words come out, those words, the ones that hurt the other so badly, and truly you didn’t mean to. James writes that the tongue is fiery, and is itself set on fire by hell… that the person able to keep the tongue in check can keep their whole self in-check. Well, they saw your hellfire and it burned. Like swallowing cement blocks, the words were choked down and buried, and then your listener was left digesting the pieces.
Hours went by. Silence settled…
Yet you broke it, and you apologized.
Simply, lovingly, fully
It was a mistake, and I knew it hurt you as soon as I said it, please forgive me. I know it hurt—that was not my intention.
It’s funny how you don’t really know who you are until you realize you are capable of saying those words. It is in those moments that you recognize your desperate need for Grace and for Truth, and the wisdom to know which is needed in which moment.
What a reminder of my brokenness and humanity when realize I am capable of saying those words, and I am astounded by the grace upon grace met with new mercies that are lavished on me by the Father. This grace and these mercies change me, mold me, that my tongue could be more filled with heaven’s songs than the brimstone I can bring. It is a miracle that He is capable of making beauty out of me, you, and us.
To Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.