I recently downloaded the app Google Keep, which is kind of like keeping a digital notebook in your back pocket to jot thoughts down when you don’t have time to flesh them out.
First off, I love it and recommend it. It’s amazing for a forgetful girl, who is now an extra-forgetful mama, to be able to record important thoughts to come back to later.
Later, when sweet, chubby, clingy baby fingers are relaxed in sleep. Later, when I’m not rushing from work to the grocery store to home so my husband can leave the house and get to his job on time. Later, now.
It’s taking a few weeks to really get into the groove of quickly recording my thoughts now that I have this tool, but I’m working on it. At the beginning of this month, I swype-typed the following on my phone:
“For too long, I spoke out in harsh, angry judgment, thinking I was doing people some sort of service by deriding them. By stating my frustrations in clever sarcastic jabs at groups of people, or sometimes at a very specific person.
What part of that did I think was love? How can Christ be in words that seek to humiliate? How can my loving Father inspire me to choose to shove my brothers and sisters into the mud?”
I read that and cringe because my heart remembers it vividly. Facebook Memories won’t let me forget. I used to vent a lot on social media–about a situation or a viewpoint or an oft-used phrase–in a way that made my thoughts clear: “those people” were idiots and I was far superior.
[I grew up using sarcasm in a good-natured way, but I never saw how harmful it could be. Sarcasm is not meant to be used in anger and frustration. It more than bruises. It cuts. It leaves scars.]
So the glimpses people caught of me was that I was a Christian (because I’d of course post about love and forgiveness in between my tirades) and that I had no mercy for people who acted in a way that bothered me. No forgiveness for those who offended me, even accidentally. No love for my brothers and sisters. No love for the world.
Unkind words and cynicism were what I had to offer. And because I called myself Christian, that was a reflection on my Savior. A blight on His perfect example.
So I saw my note this morning, then this afternoon I read this word from Jesus:
“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.” Matthew 5:21-22
You idiot. You waste of brain matter. Get off the road if you can’t drive. You good-for-nothing. You fool.
That’s what was spilling out of my heart. Animosity toward people I didn’t even know. Words that would make some of those people crawl under the rug in shame if they heard it, probably thinking the same about themselves. Disappointment. Good-for-nothing. Fool.
I am guilty.
But because God is full of grace and mercy, he revealed my bitterness to me. He shined a light upon the expertly ignored poisonous recesses of my heart. He cleansed me and forgave me. He still forgives me when I slip. In my car. “Fool.” Amid gossip, when I should have fled but stayed & joined in. “Good-for-nothing.”
Father, forgive me. Give me your patience and mercy. Give me your eyes for those I would put down. In the pit of my heart from which ugly words used to spring forth, pour compassionate prayers instead. Help me to lift up my neighbor rather than to put him down.
PS: When you feel that feeling–you know, the one that you’ve come to recognize as God’s tug on your heart–move. Move and don’t stop moving until you have accomplished what He called you to do. I almost didn’t write this because my various apps weren’t working. My internet was dead slow. My Bible verse wouldn’t pull up properly on my phone. So I asked God if He didn’t want me to write this, or if the enemy didn’t want it–and I felt that feeling. So I asked God to open the way because this was His work–and here I am. Move and don’t stop moving.