Repost: Bridle Your Tongue

In this journey of loss I have been blessed and wounded by words.

I have been encouraged and disheartened by stray comments.  I’ve been thrown a lifeline and pushed under the raging waves of grief by friends, family and acquaintances who often had no clue they were doing either.

Our words matter. 

Our tongues have the power of life and death.

Read the rest here:  Bridle your Tongue

Monday Musings: Be Kind

I wrote and scheduled this post BEFORE the Nice terrorist attack and BEFORE the gunning down of police officers in Baton Rouge just yesterday morning.

But how very timely-as long as we divide the world into “us” and “them” we fuel hatred and acts of violence.  As long as we choose rhetoric rather than reason we encourage a mindset that believes only radical action will spur change.

As I wrote over a week ago, My Heart Hurts.  And I refuse to be part of the division that will only surely result in more death and destruction.

Instead I will choose to be radically kind.

This year has been filled with divisive politics, headlines and heartbreaking reminders of the many ways people can hurt one another.

I have my own opinions and positions on various issues and sometimes they are at odds with those of my friends or acquaintances.

But I am committed to speak, write and interact with everyone I meet in kindness-respecting our differences.

be kind2

Because we are all image-bearers of the One True God.

James said, With our tongues we praise our Lord and Father. Yet, with the same tongues we curse people, who were created in God’s likeness. Praise and curses come from the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, this should not happen!” (James 3:9-10 GW)

Jesus answered the question, “Who is my neighbor?” with a well-known parable that shocked His audience and challenged their preconceived ideas.

As soon as I ask, “Who is my neighbor?” I am trying to draw a circle around who I should and should not be obligated to treat with kindness and love.  

I’m not going to do that.

Henri Nouwen writes:

Kindness is a beautiful human attribute. When we say, “She is a kind person” or “He surely was kind to me,” we express a very warm feeling. In our competitive and often violent world, kindness is not the most frequent response. But when we encounter it we know that we are blessed. Is it possible to grow in kindness, to become a kind person? Yes, but it requires discipline. To be kind means to treat another person as your “kin,” your intimate relative. We say, “We are kin” or “He is next of kin.” To be kind is to reach out to someone as being of “kindred” spirit.

Here is the great challenge: All people, whatever their color, religion, or sex, belong to humankind and are called to be kind to one another, treating one another as brothers and sisters. There is hardly a day in our lives in which we are not called to this.

 I can purpose to listen even when I disagree.  

Words Matter

“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” ~Jesus

Have you ever had a moment when words “slipped out” before you could stop them?  

I have.  

Standing amidst the wreckage of hasty speech I would do almost anything to stuff them back inside.

I like to pretend that I didn’t mean what I said.  I like to imagine that the words don’t reflect what I really feel.

And in the wake of burying a child, I find that I am ill-prepared to keep my mouth shut. Words tumble out because my emotions are almost always close to the surface.

The truth is, a glass only spills what’s already inside and my mouth only spews what’s hiding in my heart.

I am trying hard to fill my heart with grace, love and mercy so that what comes out heals rather than hurts.

I’m not always successful-the heart is deep and my wound is great.

But being wounded myself, I long to be an instrument of healing and peace in this broken world.  

st francis prayer