Saturday, March 3, 2007

"Apples of Gold in Pictures of Silver"

Who has not heard the playground proverb,
“Sticks and stones will break my bones
But words will never hurt me.”
I don’t know who coined those words , but either they had ‘skin’ like a rhinoceros or they were simply deaf.

I don’t think there is a person reading this who has not felt the sting of someone’s words, whether spoken carelessly or with intent to wound.
Words - simple vibrations of sound, yet having the power to change lives.
God says that we will be asked to give account for every ‘idle’ word that we speak. (Matt. 12:36) I used to wonder how God would keep track of every word that has been spoken over thousands of years!! But science has given us the answer. Every word spoken creates its own unique vibration which goes out into space on a journey without end, and that word can, with the right electronic device , be retrieved at any time. So all God needs is His super computer. He types in your name and every word you ever spoke will flash onto the screen.
Isn’t that astounding?
Does that unsettling thought not make you think twice about opening your mouth at all?? No wonder the bible says that the wise man is a man of few words, choosing them carefully.

But the converse of wounding words is healing words, and how beautiful they are.
I love the verse in Prov. 25:11 “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”
Isn’t that beautiful?? What an admirable goal – to speak only golden words worth framing in silver for all eternity! To attain that unattainable goal of echoing only God’s words with our mouths. “The words of the Lord are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace of earth.. purified seven times.” (Ps. 12:6)
The picture I have of the meaning of that verse is that you and I are the ‘of earth’ – we are but dust- and the furnace is the Holy Spirit in us, burning off the earthly things - if we let Him- over and over again. Seven is God’s holy number … so when we have allowed Him to finish the purifying process within our hearts we will be left with only pure words in our mouth, "the words of the pure are pleasant words". (Prov.15:26)
Oh, that we would be that pure in heart!!

I had an experience this week that is a ‘God’ illustration of the power of words.

I grew up in the country close to the USA border on a gravel road . Several properties down from where I lived, was a farm house set back from the road at the end of a long driveway. I did not know the people who lived there personally, other than their names, and their children were younger than me so I did not go to school with them. But what interested me was that they had adopted a child.. I was curious about this adopted girl and while I never met her I do remember - one day when I was walking home after being dropped off by the school bus- very clearly seeing her halfway down that long driveway on her way home. She was too far away for me to see her features but for some reason, the image of that little girl on the driveway stuck with me.
That was about 45 years ago.
Then a few weeks ago, Lovella called me one day and expressed concern over a girl who was feeling down, and gave me the girl’s blog link suggesting I leave a comment to cheer her up. I visited her blog fairly regularly after that and eventually we established an e-mail relationship that became more than friendly. In the comparing of our life history… the fact was uncovered that my new friend,
Demara , is the daughter of that little girl whose image I have carried around with me all these years.
From my very first visit to Demara’s blog I had a curious desire to hear her laugh ! I imagined her to have the kind of infectious , bubbly laughter that makes you want to laugh too. The more our relationship grew the more I wanted to hear her laugh.
Finally, I conceived a plan…I thought that if we spoke on the phone , then surely something would make her laugh and I could hear her.
So I e-mailed her my phone number… she e-mailed back that she wasn’t a phone-talker , she preferred to type.
OK, that was a dead end.
Then in an e-mail I was typing to her a couple of days ago I suddenly I felt that ‘divine’ nudge to tell her the real reason I had given her my phone number. So I did and then the words ‘audio clip’ flashed into my mind and I jokingly asked if she couldn’t put an audio clip of her laughing on her blog. Having come to know her to have a quirky fun loving side to her… I half expected her to take me up on my challenge and actually post the audio clip !!!

But her response was much different than I would ever have guessed.

She e-mailed me back, emotional and in tears, to tell me a story.
A couple of years ago , she had attended a happy family function. Something struck her funny, and she responded in spontaneous laughter. A close family member came up to her and said, “You laugh just like your Mom, I don’t like it.. Don’t ever laugh in my presence.”
Demara told me the remark had cut so deep that from that day on she had suppressed her laughter and felt self-conscious about it. How sad !!
I don’t know what the family member meant by the words or if they ever thought about what the effect would be on Demara. -- but Someone did.
God watched a part of Demara shrivel and hide, and He felt her pain. How tender God is in His care toward his children . He put HIS desire to hear her laugh again into MY heart….knowing that , coming from someone who had never even met her – the request to hear her laugh would be what she needed to heal the scar left by her family member’s remark.
How incredibly privileged I felt to be the messenger to convey to her God’s expression of love and proof that there is nothing about her that He does not know or care about. He wanted her once again to let the joy bubble up in her heart , spilling over in infectious laughter that could skip across a room , lightening heavy hearts.

For man’s words, hurtful though they can be, God has the antidote – words that are a gift ‘like apples of gold’
So we have a choice , when we open our mouths, to speak words that hurt and cause pain or words that comfort and heal.

I was so moved emotionally by this experience, I resolved in my heart before God that I will strive to be more diligent to listen to that still small Voice…to be ready always to be obedient to the nudge of the Spirit and to speak words that will not hurt but will truly be words reflecting God’s heart, spoken in the right time.


Demara said...

Oh Julie!

That is so sweet of you~

Sure I don't mind the story and Kamelia is a very beautiful name...I did get teary too ;)

I don't mind if people know my real name here either.

I called my Mom and read it to her too and she wants to come over RIGHT AWAY to see your picture to see if she knows you. My Mom has the most bubblely laugh ever!!! When she laughs she makes me laugh and feel loved. I love making people laugh!

I will no longer suppress it!!!

Thanks for your love Julie!!!

Julie said...

Demara, with your permission I have changed 'Kamelia' to your real name with a link to your blog.
I did not know until I read your comment that your Mom has a bubbly laugh! So it is a 'gift' she passed on to you !!
God's love is wonderful, especially when it is shared among His children.

Lovella ♥ said...

Oh Julie, you have such a gift of demonstrating Christ's love. You have such a bubbly voice yourself even when just talking.
Oh the times I could erase if I just could. I desire a tongue of only kind words.
Demara, thank you for allowing this story to be told.