By, Micah Maddox
I left the church building and pouted my way to my car. As the moon reflected on my blonde hair, I reflected on the golden rule. "How could she say that to me?” Not only was it hurtful, it wasn’t true. "She knows better. Shame on her."
I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt in my head, but my heart was too wounded from her words that I could not move past the way she made me feel. Her words cut deep and left a gash in a part of my heart that I had sacrificed for the sake of the ministry.
Haven’t we all been there wrestling with wounds from those within the walls of the place of worship? Wounds are difficult to deal no matter when or where they come from, but in church, it’s really complicated to work through misunderstandings and hurt feelings with people you want to trust, and love unconditionally.
As I replayed her words in my mind, God put a verse on my heart.
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report;
if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
When I lined up her words against this verse, I stopped in my tracks at the word “lovely”. There was nothing lovely about the tone, the texture, or the tales she was rattling off. So I huffed within myself and raised my head in pride. “I would never treat someone like that.”
I woke the next morning still huffing from the tongue lashing I received less than twenty-four hours before. I prepared breakfast and before I could finish eating I was rattling off some of my own unlovely words to the people I love the most. And once again as I replayed my own words in my mind, God put a verse on my heart. The same verse I had used against the wounding woman at the church.
My face dropped and my shoulders slumped, humbled. I let her wounds wind me up so much that I was pouring them out on others. Shame on me!
Isn’t that how life goes sometimes? We receive pain. We inflict pain. We think somehow we will feel better about ourselves to vent and get everything off our chest, but then we sit back and regret the way we vented.
Thinking back on this situation I would have handled it so much better if I would have remembered one little thing - kindness. Even when I’m wounded, I can be kind.
"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
A little phrase I often say to my children is, “Be kind anyway.” Oh how I needed my own advice that day in the church parking lot. “Be kind anyway, Micah.” When we let the wounding words of others consume our hearts and minds, our words soon begin to wound others too.
What should we do when we are wounded? Be kind anyway.
Who will you be kind anyway to today? Have you been wounded by the church? Don't let the enemy use that to keep you away from gathering together with believers. Be kind anyway. I promise, it's worth it.