When I encounter an angry or hurt person, I find myself shying away from them. It’s a form of self-protection, I suppose. If I don’t talk to them, I won’t get hurt by the angry barbs that come flying from their mouths. In spite of my avoidance, I’m kind of famous for letting other people’s pain roll right off my back without a second thought.
We’ve all been burned by those who have spoken hurtful words out of their place of pain. Often, even an attempt at a loving response is met with more angry words. More pain. More hurt feelings. We talk about speaking lifewords into a person’s situation, but sometimes it’s just not possible.
I was reminded of that at the gym this morning. The teacher of my group spinning class was having a bad day, to say the least. It was reflected in his angry tone and his choice of even angrier music to get us all moving. Some of us started grumbling about the negativity, but then it hit me – pray for him. Speak grace over him.
As I was fiercely pedaling to keep up, I spoke words of life into the air – God, release him from his anger. God, heal his pain. God, show him you love him. As I prayed those words of life over this hurting man, something changed. In ME.
I realized that sometimes it’s not the time or place to hit someone over the head, so to speak, with words of kindness. In those moments, we have the great opportunity to pray and let God work out the details. Perhaps He will send someone else to that person at a time when they will truly listen and be healed.
We don’t need to try and fix everyone, and we need to stop pretending we can. We just need to be faithful.
I wish I could say the instructor today instantly changed his demeanor and played happy music for the rest of the class. He didn’t. From all outward appearances, he was still suffering inside, but I believe God began to work on his heart.
…And something changed in me this morning; I gained a new understanding of what it means to speak LifeWords into someone’s life ~ without them ever hearing a sound.