Why do the harsh words stick closer than encouragement? Why do some words cut so deep? Why do judgmental statements aimed at us, at our parenting, our appearance, our faith, our personal choices, continue to surprise us?
Today, I had two statements directed at me. Both by complete strangers. Both by older women.
Statement 1: You really need to teach your kids how to act around dogs.
Statement 2 (actually said to my kids, but still about me) : Wow, you guys have a very pretty mommy.
I have to be honest and and admit to you that I did not turn the other cheek concerning statement number one. I truly am a pretty laid back, patient person HOWEVER, I tend to lose self control and all sense of grace when I feel like someone is either attacking my kids or my mothering. Why?
I mean, when I sit with this statement and my reaction and really begin to think and pray about it I think it boils down to this:
I’ve worked hard to create something and when someone does not see the beauty that I see, it hurts me personally. It hurts me deep.
When someone makes an assumption that I am irresponsible versus responsible, it breaks my heart. When someone assumes I am not a well equipped mother, it breaks my heart. When someone assumes I am “not good” it breaks my heart. When someone assumes I am not enough, it breaks my heart.
I know it breaks yours too.
So I challenge you. Assume good.
Assume other women are good. Assume the woman who just dissolved your smile with a couple words is good. She is. They are. God made them. And, He is good too.
As for statement number two – it came and went, overshadowed by the prior.
Side Note – As I was writing this, I did a little googling and found a statement that I might have to try and live by. It was honest, challenging, and convicting –
Dr. Charles Stanley says “Every rebuke is an opportunity from God. It’s a chance to let your Christian character shine by showing love to your critic. If he is angrily attacking you, your respect and kindness become a powerful testimony. Criticism is also an occasion to humble yourself and accept the Lord’s correction.”
I am sincerely sorry if that slapped you in your face, like it did to me.
And if that wasn’t enough, the good ‘ole verse of the day got me too –
“Careful words make for a careful life; careless talk may ruin everything.” Proverbs 13:3 MSG
“Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” Proverbs 13:3 ESV