And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.
I woke up this morning with a vague but strong sense of foreboding. I’ve learned enough by now to know feelings like this require immediate attention, so I pressed in…
“Lord, what is this? What’s wrong? What are you showing me?”
The moment I prayed, memories flooded my mind that caused my stomach to sink into more foreboding as God immediately brought to mind both a memory and an acute understanding of the problem…
…and the problem was me. More specifically, my words.
He showed me words from my own mouth and attitudes I hold (which motivate the words) that are grievous to Him. And with that came the sinking feeling you only get when you realize you have a glaring problem…and you’re probably the last one to know about it.
“Jesus, I’m so sorry…”
“Don’t apologize…yet. There’s more I need to show you.”
Oh no. I don’t like this game. The one where Jesus holds a mirror up to all the worst parts of me and I get to see what those really look like to Him. I mean, I ask for this but then I see all the muck and the mire that I’ve conveniently avoided for who knows how long… and no matter how good-for-me I know it to be, that doesn’t make it any easier to see.
Jesus showed me more than just my own careless words and grievous attitudes. He showed me where those things originated from and why they’re there to begin with. He gave me so much grace to understand the reasons behind this fault – along with a strong understanding that reasons are not excuses.
This isn’t the first time the Lord has brought this to my attention. A few years ago I was with a group of Christians worshipping the Lord through song and prayer. As I was getting ready to leave that night, a man I’d never seen or spoken to before came up to me and asked if it was alright to tell me something God had showed him. I said yes, of course. I love when the Lord speaks to people and I always love hearing it.
“As you were sitting there praying, I saw a vision of you with huge spikes (I think he said they looked like battering rams) coming out of your mouth all around . They were your defense system and it’s how you kept yourself safe. Anyone who tried to get close to you would just run into these spikes, so nobody ever got close. [I instantly knew the spikes he saw represented the sharp, harsh, and biting words I would often use to push people away] . Then I saw God come and destroy all those spikes and just turn them instantly into dust. You fell to the ground. You were just sitting there with the dust just running through your fingers and you were screaming at God ‘WHY!!! WHY DID YOU DO THAT?!’ You were so angry because God took away your only defense and protection. But God wants you to know that HE is going to be your defense. HE is going to be your protection. You don’t need those spikes anymore.”
I’d never heard anything so accurately describe myself in my entire life, and this from a man I’d never even met.
Today God reminded me of all this and I saw that in fear of proximity, I’d started to revert back to my old ways. Those time-tested and true ways of keeping others at bay. But thank you Jesus for stepping in right at the beginning and showing me what I was about to do before I actually did it. You are so so good.
Lord, thank you for your unfathomable love. Thank you for being so kind as to show me my mess before I make a mess of others. Thank you for saving me from myself. Thank you for showing me myself and leading me out of the mire. Thank you for your gentleness and patience. I don’t deserve such kindness.