It has been said that there are four things you cannot take back: the spoken word, the spent arrow, the past life, and the neglected opportunity. I didn’t have this on my mind when I yelled harsh words to someone in a heated argument. However, as soon as the words left my mouth I felt ashamed for saying them—no one wants to be on the receiving end of that barrage, but I was pissed and lashed out. The person responded with worse words, and I cringed as I heard them. Words are so powerful that they can hurt much longer than a wound. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be, James 3:9-10.
I often write about Christians not reflecting their spirituality in what they say and do, and provide suggestions on how to react in stressful situations, as the subject is near to my heart. We can be cool, calm, and collected when things are going well, but the opposite side comes out when we are stressed. And it’s not about having a holier than thou attitude! We just all ought to act like we belong to the King in public and private. Alas, I didn’t take my own advice.
As I reflected on what took place, I wondered why I didn’t exercise more self-control. Yes, I was angry and retaliated in the heat of the moment. However, there was a split second when there was a space…an awareness. I was able to prevent myself from saying a curse word that was on the tip of my tongue. In that awareness, I could have taken another deep breath…and paused…before I reacted negatively. But no, I wanted to hit back. Some might say that my response was provoked and even warranted, but was it right? I have found that whenever I am out of sync and not aligned with God’s essence, bad stuff creeps in—angry words, negative attitudes, and wrong actions.
Nevertheless, I couldn’t believe I said those words and begged for forgiveness.
In other blogs I have mentioned several ways of reconnecting and staying centered, one other approach is by practicing meditation. I have tried it before, but couldn’t concentrate. So, instead of “giving up” something for Lent, I will use the 40 days meditating for a period of time. I know that it doesn’t necessary entail sitting cross-legged on the floor, but could be done anywhere, at any time throughout the day. Prayerfully, by Easter I will master it and be able to ignore distracting thoughts, guard my tongue, and control inappropriate behavior.
Do you have a special ritual for Lent? Do you have tips on how you keep your cool? Please share here. You never know, it might just be the perspective someone needs.