Monday, August 22, 2011

Once bitten

I had my first run-in with fire ants when I was a little girl. I was running around in shorts and sandals in the Texas heat with my best friend Julie. After riding bikes and jumping on the trampoline, we decided to explore in the field at the end of the block. As we walked across the parched ground, my foot gave way into softer soil. Within seconds my foot was covered with hostile fire ants. Together Julie and I managed to wipe the ants off but only after we endured countless bites.

My foot felt numb as we hurried home. My mom knew how to help me feel better. I was lucky to not have more bites. I didn't know it then but people die from fire ant bites every year. But by the end of the day sores had formed all around my toes. We were told not to remove the poison from the bites so I endured the pain. Those bites left scars on my foot for years.

We can get emotionally bitten as well. The sting of harsh words can send venom coursing through our spirit. The more bites we receive, the greater the impact. And as long as the poison stays within us, it causes damage.

Now that I'm older I know if I don't remove the venom from an ant bite it will scar my skin. But how do we remove the venom from being bitten by others? We forgive them. But first we need to give a little TLC to our spirit when we're attacked emotionally. Words hurt.

Cry if you need to. I wailed like a baby as those ants attacked me. It hurt and I cried out in pain. So allow yourself a few cleansing tears. But then evaluate what was said: Is it true? Does it align with God's word? Would God himself say that about you? Were you in the wrong? Is it possible that their comment really more to do with them and less to do with you? In other words, were you caught in the crossfire of their own emotional battle? What else could have motivated them to say what they said?

Then finally, forgive them for it. Look, we are all human, flawed and imperfect. We all make mistakes and say things we wish we could take back. I know I have! It breaks my heart to think my careless words could cause an emotional scar. But they can. For all the times I've been bitten, there are several times when I've been the ant. Lord, please forgive my foolish words.

Are you nursing the wound of a pretty bad bite? Are you ready to get rid of the poison inside? Pray God's word and allow Him to speak truth into your life. It is healing ointment for the soil...

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.” James 3:7-9

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