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Wounding Words

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Ps.19:14, NIV.

My problem with being slow to ask forgiveness is that I don’t always see how things I do can affect God. I mean, I don’t commit any obvious sins, such as lying, cheating, or stealing; and I certainly haven’t killed anyone. Now, I realize there’s more to being a Christian than just obeying the Ten Commandments. Sometimes I think that what I’m doing is only hurting myself, and I don’t realize that my actions are really hurting others. Usually, people apologize when they put other people down, but recently I found myself apologizing for putting myself down.

One of my failings as a Christian is my serious lack of self esteem. In my heart I know I’m a child of the King, but when I look in the mirror I don’t see a princess; I see a peasant. I compare myself to the people around me, and I end up feeling ugly and stupid. I’ve fallen into the habit of knocking myself, verbally. I know I’m not the only woman who does this or feels she’s less than a princess.

I made the mistake of talking to my best friend about how ugly I was. I wasn’t prepared for her reaction. Instead of telling me to stop or ignoring my put-downs, she actually started crying.

“You don’t know how beautiful you are,” she said. “Why can’t you see what I see?”

I ended up apologizing profusely. I thought I was only hurting myself when I talked that way, but it turns out I was also hurting the people who loved me.

I try to spend some time every evening, talking to God in a private place. During one of those prayers I was impressed with the idea that if my words wounded my friend to the point of tears, how much more must they hurt my Creator? If God loved me enough to offer His Son, how can I look down on myself?

Asking for forgiveness sincerely means not only admitting to wrongdoing, but also trying to make sure you don’t repeat the same offense. I’m sorry to say that a bad habit of years doesn’t vanish overnight. But I know that both God and my friend have forgiven me, and I’m determined to cut out my wounding words.

Gina Lee

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