I started to title this “Proud Recipient of a Holy Spirit Smackdown.” Then I thought about it. Probably, getting chastised by God isn’t something to be proud of.
This morning, around 6:20, I was running my mouth on the phone. (Yes. I get phone calls at dawn on occasion. Those of you who know me aren’t surprised. And please, none of you try calling me before, oh 10:00. Love you, will talk to you later in the day.) Anyway, I was blabbering away when, suddenly… I heard myself. The words coming out of my mouth reached my ears.
Know what I wanted to do when I heard what I was saying? Cry. I wanted to put the phone down, throw myself at the feet of Jesus, and cry.
It’s no coincidence that a good friend, in a totally unrelated discussion, brought up Ephesians 4:29 earlier this week, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” God was all over that.
When I was on the phone, I was talking about a legitimate problem, but the way my words formed did not foster a solution. My words could only make the problem worse. Anger and frustration birthed criticism, hypcorisy, self-righteousness, and arrogance in me. Instead of going to God and saying, “I’ve got an issue,” I went to myself and figured out that “perfect” me could fix everything if the nincompoops around me would just listen. Oh, how wrong. How very, very wrong.
For the first time in a long time, I felt the weight of God’s conviction. It hurt. It hurt to get on my knees and admit my wrong. It hurt to know my spirit had sunk so low. It hurt to realize the same things I criticized in others live and breathe in me. It hurt to know I’d let everything but edification spew out of my mouth. It still stings, like when you bang your toe and it takes a few seconds for the pain to dial all the way up to 11. I had to ask God for help, to change the way I think, because the way I think is wrong.
If you catch me criticizing somebody, stop me. Hold me accountable. And if that’s your issue, ask God for help. Believe me, He’s more than willing to walk that road with us and lift our heads again. I thank God He is so merciful, even when we least deserve it!