She used her words to belittle me again. Others heard her. One of them spoke up. Then she mean giggled. As if that made her words ok. As if she was joking. Is joking just truth put to laughter? She was the only one laughing.
When she wants her way and tries to intimidate you into doing it, she says mean words. Unkind words. Insulting words. Not just to your face, but in front of others. Making a spectacle out of herself. Really. And calling attention to what she perceives as your shortcomings.
She’s an adult. Not a child. Not a teenager. She’s someone who knows better. She does it anyway. She isn’t always like this. She can be very kind and generous. That’s why it’s so confusing. And the funny thing…she calls me friend. She trusts me.
The other thing. She doesn’t do it just to me. I’ve heard her words when they were directed at others. Cutting words. Sharp tone. Wanting to get her point across. Because it’s her way or no way. It’s about her. No one else.
I’ve wondered what caused her to be like this. I know part of her story, but only the part she wants to share. There’s always a part of the story that isn’t shared. We all do it. We keep it close. She does. I do. We fear judgment and rejection by others.
That’s when I know she needs to feel loved. Not condemned. But it’s hard to turn the other cheek. It’s hard to pray for her. It’s hard to even look her in the eye. It’s hard to stay silent. I want to say mean words, too. I want to get even. I want her to feel pain. But I know that’s not the words God wants me to say to her. I know she’s already felt rejection. I know she’s built up walls. Self-preservation, it’s called. It must be a heavy load to carry.
He wants me to be Jesus to her. Even though she knows him. He wants me to love her as he loves her. Even when she’s unlovable. Even when others come to me and say they notice her actions. They’ve heard the stories about her unkind words. How am I supposed to respond to that? Share more stories? Compare hurt feelings? Gossip? Give a thin smile and stay silent? Or speak God’s love to them, as well?
I try to see her through God’s eyes. What does he see when he looks at her? What does he hear when she speaks unkind words? He sees her pain. He sees the scars. He hears her need. He hears her hurt.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
I think of Jesus and his sacrifice. Giving his life for us. For her. For me. For anyone. For everyone.
And I think of her, because she’s included in whosoever. I think of her standing in front of God on judgment day. I want him to welcome her into heaven. I want him to look her in the eye and say, “well done, good and faithful servant.” I want her to want heaven.
Then I remember another scene from this week. Someone told me a story. I thought it was funny. So I laughed. They didn’t think it was funny. They didn’t laugh. I haven’t heard from them since. Did I offend? Was I guilty of the same offense that had been thrown at me? Was I careless with my words, too? Intentional or unintentional, words matter. For they come from the heart.
I want to be welcomed into heaven, too. So my words and my actions and my thoughts must also line up with God’s word. My offender is not the only one who needs forgiveness and grace. I’m whosoever, too.