In church recently we read in I Timothy 3/Titus 1 that have various qualifications for those who will be involved in ministry/church leadership. One of them is “no striker” and the minister talked about how most of us don’t struggle against a temptation to physically strike someone… but our words. We can strike with our words. I have been on both ends – hurt by others’ words, and hurt others with my own… it’s so, so painful. Recovery is long and hard. You have probably experienced it too.
A few days after the sermon, a dear friend and I talked about the message. It was a choppy conversation, as it always is when you’re chasing three young children around…
but so relevant. When I thought about striking others with words, I thought about peers. But she brought it up with relation to our children.
I have a fair number of moments daily where I have the choice to strike with my words or not. There are situations and interactions with my kids that make me so angry… and when I was reading through Ephesians 4, that’s probably why verse 26 caught my attention: “be ye angry, and sin not.”
It came up again in my reading this morning in Job 2: “So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes. Then said his wife unto him, dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die. But he said unto her, thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.”
The ashes, the arguments, the anger, and the tough times will come. They are a given… but I am still called to sin not – to trade ashes for beauty and use my words to lift up, resolve, heal, and teach. This is the Lord’s work.