Mark and I graduated from high school together 20 years ago this year. As we are considering going to our high school reunion and reconnect with some friends from our younger days, memories come flashing back to me. Some of these memories are really good ones especially considering this is where I fell head over heals with the man I would eventually marry. But, if I'm totally honest, there are memories that send chills down my spine. There are many choices and decisions I've made in high school and my early 20's that I'm not very proud of and for a long time haunted me.
One of those memories is how I would be remembered from back in the day. My senior year I was nominated as the person most likely to gossip. At the time, I thought it was cool especially because my picture was taken by a pay phone and featured on the front page of the school newspaper.
Now, you might be reading this and think what is the big deal. You were just a kid and kids do stupid things. Those stupid things followed me after high school, through my 20's and was not convicted until after the birth of my oldest child. My words have hurt many people. Life and death are in the tongue. Years ago, I couldn't figure out why I was so miserable until God showed me it was the way I was talking about my husband, friends, life in general and myself. Something had to change and it was me.
Hurt people hurt people and because I was hurt I did the one thing I thought was the answer and that was to kill with my tongue.
Since then God sent me on a journey to healing and restoration. He humbled me and had me go back to ask forgiveness from many people I hurt. I was not to look at what they did to me only what God showed me what I did to them. It wasn't easy but freed me from the bondage I was in for years. I don't know, maybe I had a right to be mad but when you begin to fall in love with the God of all creation nothing else matters but to love like he loves. He can forgive me than I must than forgive even if they other person refuses to forgive me.
God gives us so many gifts and many times we mess it up and use it for the wrong purpose. I'm so thankful I'm not the person I use to be and have learned to use my words to build, encourage and not to tear down. I don't always get this right still. Remember I am married. There are times Mark can get on my last nerve. When this happens, I know to take a few minutes and walk away because the last think I want to do is to grieve the holy spirit and cut the people I love and the people God loves with the sharpest weapon we own and this is our tongue. I know this is hard. If you are alive and have relationships with anyone else who is breathing conflict is inevitable.
So what do you do when you feel your emotions are getting the best out of you and you want to spit fire at someone? First, ask God for forgiveness and learn the lesson so it doesn't repeat again. Surround yourself with people who don't feed the fire but hold you accoutable and grow through the experiene. Also, take sometime to learn more about people and get some people skills. The more you learn about yourself and others the healthier your relationships will become.
As Mark and I decide if we are going to our high school reunion and reminisce about our old Alma mater and our younger days, there may be people who remember me as a big mouth and if so it will be an opportunity to ask forgiveness but also for me to remember as I walk in the room, I am know longer that person but a new creation in Christ.