Monday, October 20, 2014

On Words and Worth

"You're ugly."

Shocked and dismayed, I glanced up at the young girl of 8 or so who had carelessly uttered the words.

"That was rude!" I responded, never much one to be less than direct myself. Even still, I was surprised and caught off guard by the unkind words directed toward me. I can imagine what my mother's response would have been if I had done or said something of that sort at this girl's age and it wouldn't have been anything close to an enjoyable experience for me.

She attempted to shrug it off with a less than heartfelt apology when I told her she ought to, but I persisted with something along the lines of "How would you like it if I said you were ugly? You're not, but how would you like it?" 
She stubbornly insisted that she would not care for several moments before finally blurting out with a healthy dose of passion "Someone at school bullied me and said I was ugly."

Ah, the truth. Finally something to go on. 

I spent the next few minutes attempting to undo the damage that had been done to her heart. But really, there is no undoing it. I can only hope that my words were something of a healing ointment as I told her how God sees her and I see her, etc. 

I came away with some lessons perhaps I already knew but that were reiterated in my heart and head through this experience and all throughout my day today that I would like to express:

1. Be careful with words. Despite the old saying (you know the one), words CAN hurt.

2. Grace. Grace. GRACE! While obviously this young one was downright rude, it was also obvious there is something deeper going on. We don't know everyone's hearts. "Hurting people hurt people" is SO true! I'm grateful that I worked through it instead of simply putting her in time-out. What a great opportunity for growth for the both of us!

3. Forgive. When people offend you, forgive. If you don't, their words are still allowed to fester in your heart and hurt you continuously.

4. Ask for forgiveness/apologize when you've offended others. Even if you feel you did no wrong, the fact remains that someone was offended and relationships with those we care about are worth SO much more than our pride. I had to do this recently to reconcile with a family member. No fun, but so necessary. Slowly but surely my Father is working on me in the area of being sensitive to others needs, especially when they vary from my own and I might not understand them.

5. Build others up. This is especially needed in regard to parents of young daughters, but really is applicable to everyone. 
So your daughter is loved, accepted, and beautiful. How often do you tell her? She is faced with so many negative messages about herself and needs you to show her the truth about how God sees her or there will be serious negative repercussions in her life as she matures into an adult. Have those conversations about her life at school or among her friends. She may be too embarrassed or ashamed to broach the subject herself. Talk about bullying. Bullied or abused kids often become bullying or abusive adults. Deal with it now or you will be sorry. 

6. Know the truth of God's word and teach it so that you might identify and help others to identify that which is not and disregard it.

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

"See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him."

"Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious."

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."

"Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows."

"Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."

"For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

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