In one case, someone told me how people often told them that they looked like one of their siblings, similar to the way people had told me the same thing. For this person though, it drew out feelings of jealousy, as they didn't feel they measured up to the sibling they were being constantly compared to. Eventually God helped them appreciate the comparisons as compliments, just like He did for me.
When I think about the genesis of the “Tread Lightly” post, it's quite interesting. I was lead by God to write a post about a very personal experience and about learning to let the Holy Spirit guide us so that we avoid saying things that could inadvertedly hurt someone else. But it hasn't been lost on me that in publishing that post, God taught me the flip side of the same lesson.
Not only should we be listening to God for what we shouldn't say to others, but we should equally be listening to God for the things that we should say to others.
I had a small personal wrestling match with God over whether or not to actually publish the original post, “Tread Lightly”. I wondered if it was too personal, or perhaps too hyper-specific and unrelateable to those who would read the blog. But I wasn't interested in following Jacob's lead in Genesis 32:22-32. I didn't want to wrestle with God.
As my Dad pointed out to me after listening to a Christian radio program recently, “Obedience is a crucial step towards intimacy with God”. So I obeyed and posted the post.
Even reading the post to my family was more difficult for me than I had expected. Not because I was embarrassed for them to hear it, they already knew the story, but because the topic was so personal to me, that I started to choke up as I read it.
But I read it and I posted it, and it's no credit to me, other than the fact I obeyed God. The point is the story in the first post was God's experience not mine. What I mean is, as the Apostle Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20) Even my experiences, past, present and future, all belong to Him. And if He wants me to write about them and post them to touch other people's lives, that is His choice, and I want to obey His choices in my life.
So here's my point: sometimes we won't know how much God can use something we say or do to reach someone else. Just like the people who said to me, “you guys look like twins” didn't know how that could hurt me, I didn't know that telling people about that could actually help others. But in both instances, God knew. And that's the key, the Lord knows what goes on in a man or a woman's heart (Jeremiah 17:10). And He knows what things we should avoid saying or doing, and what things we should be proactive in saying or doing.
My Dad has pointed out to me before, that their are two main categories of sins.
First, there are “sins of commission”. These are things that are actively committed. These are the ones that I imagine most of us think of when we hear the word “sin”.
The second type are “sins of omission”. These are the things that if we do not do them, then we've missed the mark. Because sin's basic definition I missing God's mark.
God teaches through scripture that all sin is equally bad in God's eyes.
“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (James 2:10).
So whether you omit or commit, it's all as bad in His eyes.
If I hadn't posted that blog, I would have been missing what God had asked me to do.
I find the balance in these two lessons fascinating. The bottom line being, whether we are to speak, or not to speak, we must only do so as the Lord leads. And how do we know what He is leading? We must ask Him! And that is what I would like to encourage you to do. In and throughout your day, invite God to be in and throughout you and in and throughout your speech and actions. Keep “one ear cocked to Heaven” to see whether or not God wants you to speak, or to refrain from speaking. Remember, there is a time for both.
“[There is] a time to keep silence and a time to speak;” (Ecclesiastes 3:7 NKJV)
Weather you are to be silent, or to speak today, let it be Lord led. Amen!