A dear friend might tell me that I’m pretty. In her mind, the word “pretty” conjures memories of her grandmother telling her that she’s pretty. Every time, she would feel like a princess. She wants me to feel all the beauty that she felt. She is trying to share the feeling by sharing the sentiment.
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I have a lifetime of insecurities that resist the word pretty. “Of course, she’s going to say that I’m pretty. She’s not going to tell me that I’m ugly… or plain.” I am unable to grasp the gift in the compliment because her words are filtered by my own experiences.
Insults work the same way, except in reverse.
Insults will always reveal more about the person who says them than the person to whom they are directed.
If I believe that someone or something is ugly, that means that I am unable to appreciate the beauty in that person or object. How sad is that? Every person is unspeakably beautiful if you look at them through God’s eyes. There is beauty almost everywhere if we look carefully enough. Being able to see that beauty is a gift and a joy. I can’t help but feel sorry for those who are unable to see it. Lord, may their eyes be opened to your beautiful creations.
If a person is mean or cruel, that person cannot be truly happy. Happy people are just too busy being happy to waste time being cruel. Mean people are always unhappy. Lord, may they find joy.
People who attempt to shame other people feel ashamed and feel as though all their own shame is justified. People who know true grace give grace. Shame is given by those who only know condemnation. Lord, may they come to experience true grace.
When people hurl vicious insults your way, these are not arrows of hurt and anger. Isn’t that how we have been trained to see them?
Insults are a reflection of the heart of the person speaking them.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
If it is not patient nor kind… If it is envious, boastful, or proud… If it dishonors others, is self-seeking, or easily angered… If it keeps records of wrongs… If it delights in evil, but can’t rejoice with truth… If it doesn’t protect, trust, hope, nor persevere, then it isn’t given in love.
If it isn’t given in love, then it doesn’t come from a heart of love. More than likely, it is coming from a heart of sorrow, a heart of pain, a heart that needs healing. Lord, heal their hearts.
Lord, help us to recognize the sorrow and pain disguised as hurtful words. Help us to remember to pray for those who seek to hurt us. Help us to remember to seek your healing when our own hearts aren’t filled with love, and our own words try to come from someplace other than love. Lord, give us wisdom. Give us grace to share.
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