Friday, May 30, 2014

Don't Let the Words of Others Have Power Over You

How do you react when someone says hurtful things to you? Do you become offended? Angry? Defensive? Do you yell and scream, or passively take it and wait until you're alone and then cry? 

I've done all those things. 

The other day someone close to me said some very hurtful things to me. The words cut deep, and were mocking and devaluing. I responded in a kind tone, but felt as if I was defending myself and justifying my position. I hung up the phone and went on a verbal rampage. I was offended and angry as well as hurt. Then I cried. Then all these other things from the past were dredged up. 

And then I put on "The Last Comic Standing" so that I could laugh (bet you didn't see that one coming, huh?). And I heard a still, small voice in my head that was neither mocking, hurtful or devaluing say, "You are a new creation in Christ. Your Father in Heaven cares deeply for you."

Because I was reminded that am a new creation in Christ, I chose to put off that old way of thinking and chose not to be offended, not to be angry. More important, I chose not to let that person's words have power over me. Feeling devalued suggests unworthiness and shame. I'm beyond all that. I've already conquered that through Christ.

It was hard. I still want to replay it in my head. But I had to let it go. I had to move on. I had to (ugh) forgive. 

You see, I really don't think this person knew that his words caused me to feel devalued. That doesn't make it right; it doesn't excuse the words, but it takes the sting out of them. Sometimes we need to realize that people don't necessarily mean harm in the things they say to us that may cause pain. 

When we allow caustic words to fester, we give power to that person and to the enemy of our souls, satan. Once that power is given, so is permission. Satan causes those wounds to fester, blister and stink. We become hardened to the world and eventually to God. That still, small voice becomes more difficult to hear. All we hear are the angry words of satan...words of bitterness, pride and arrogance...words that keep our defenses up so that person can't hurt us. But guess what? By doing that, the person still has power over us.

When we allow the forgiving and loving words of Jesus to seep into the deepest part of us, when we submit to the power of God, we give the Holy Spirit permission to work on us. When we allow our hearts to be softened toward that person...even though it goes against everything that is within us...we keep our peace. We aren't easily offended. We walk in love. We hear the still, small voice of God leading us toward instead of away from the person. It makes no sense and it looks all wrong to the world. But guess what? By doing that, the person no longer has power over us. 

There is a fine line between being a welcome mat and being a doormat. There are some people in our lives that are unhealthy and from whom we need to distance ourselves. To spend a lot of time with a person who constantly devalues us is just not a good idea. It can be exhausting. But when we put on the cloak of grace and the shoes of peace, nothing can separate us from our God, and no weapon against us will prosper (Is 54:17).

The God of Israel gives power and strength to His people (Ps 68:35). Don't let the power of someone's words influence you to anger, pride and pain. Look to the God of Israel for your strength and He will give you the power to resist the enemy and his ways. 

Who will you allow to have power over you today?
              Choose this day who you will serve...(Jos 24:15)

Remember, you are a new creation in Christ and your Father in Heaven cares deeply for you.

Blessings Along the Path,

Song of the Day
You Are Beautiful (Christina Aguilera)

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