Written August 2015
I was praying in the shower this morning (the bathroom is actually the Room of Revelation since that is where so many people report getting God-type insights. Henceforth the bathroom will be referred to as the ROR) anyway … as I was singing and praying (in tongues! Go ahead and shoot me for a heretic!) anyway … as I was worshiping the Lord, He downloaded His opinion about something that was said to me the last time I visited an elderly relative of mine. But first a little backstory.
I don’t know about you, but jealous people have been the bane of my existence. I never know what will set a jealous person off. And jealous people lean toward being of the Getting Even tribe, so once set off they will make you pay for “hurting” them, even though you didn’t mean too or even know you had done anything upsetting. So here is what set a particular relative of mine off. I told her that I had made my husband (henceforth known as Sam) a from-scratch, homemade, birthday cake.
Let me establish from the get-go that I am not as fond of baking as I am of consuming baked goods. Sam is a health-focused guy. He vigorously exercises regularly and eats the awfulest things in the name of “It’s good for me.” So an ordinary box cake will not do for him. This means that every year I bake him a fig cake using our very own figs from our very own tree. Only this year the figs were late coming in so I decided to bake him a Zucchini Blueberry cake (found the recipe on Facebook). He is the only person I know who enjoys vegetables in his birthday cake. But whatever …
A few years back when this relative of mine turned 90, I threw her a huge elaborate (translate expensive and work-intensive) party. I loved doing that for her. But this year for her birthday I only managed to drop in with Sam and my son (henceforth known as Jay) with a store-bought cake since we were returning from a trip and she lives on our way back home. We just stayed long enough to watch her open up the presents we had brought, chat for a bit, then we headed home to tend to our responsibilities there.
Here’s the timeline. Relative’s birthday is before Sam’s birthday so the dropping in with a store-bought cake has happened and I have returned alone to visit my elderly relative. As I am clipping her toenails, since she can’t do that for herself anymore, I chattily tell her about Sam’s vegetable cake. She visibly recoils as I tell the story and I take note of her reaction. After a few short minutes of silence, she tells me my hair looks horrible. Then she informs me that I’m going bald.
You better believe that freaked me out completely. But I hold it inside because, to be perfectly honest with you, I’m scared to death of this person. I finish her pedicure, clean up the mess, then race to the bathroom mirror and begin parting my hair to see if it’s true that I am going bald. In that moment, looking in the mirror, it seemed like I did have serious balding issues. Funny that I hadn’t notice that before. That is how powerful her words were. This encounter threw me into a depression which eventually resulted in a major healing for me. Yay God. But still the question remained: Why did my relative attack me like that? Did she really believe what she said or was she maliciously trying to hurt me? See, I cannot connect the dots myself because I don’t think like a jealous person (or a narcissist or a sociopath or a psychopath). Intentionally hurting someone just does not compute for me. I don’t even like picking a flower!
Back to the insight God gave me as I was worshiping in the ROR. According to Him, my relative did not say that about my hair because she is socially challenged, being helpful or old. She did intend to hurt me, because she envied my husband’s homemade vegetable cake. That was the motive behind her cruel words. She really believed this lie: Sam getting a from-scratch cake from me meant that I loved him more than I loved her.
So what did she do with the painful emotions she felt when she believed that lie? She transferred her pain by stabbing them into me with her words. Watch for this kind of emotional off-load because it is more common than you may think. She also used her words to punish me for supposedly loving Sam more than her. Here are some scriptures describing how words can be used as weapons:
There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword … Proverbs 12:18
For they do not speak peace, but they devise deceitful words against those who are quiet in the land. Psalm 35:20
They have also surrounded me with words of hatred, And fought against me without cause. In return for my love they act as my accusers; Psalm 109:3-4
Here is my prayer: Lord, cleanse me of all evil words. Upload the emotions that do not belong to me that were transferred by those words. I am not a trash can or a dumping ground for other people’s painful emotions. Heal the hurt. Open my eyes to the motives behind what people say. Teach me to use my words to bring hope and healing. In the name of Jesus I ask these things.
Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24
But the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18