We met in the woods. In a quaint log cabin nestled in a forest by river’s bend, five women opened. Here, God joined. Five Marys leaving their Marthas behind for a day.
How quickly one can refresh when God is included! How quickly poor become rich when hearts touch beauty and extend grace that’s been given!
How have we missed this in our everyday lives? And what is THIS?
Get real. Talk deep. Breathe in. Breathe out. Cry tears. Laugh joy. Hug hearts. Encourage all. Be courageous though a bit afraid. Admit flaws. Appreciate differences. Hold in confidence.
This? We watched God knit a gorgeous garment of individual royal yarns right in front of our eyes. Each of us became more beautiful because He wove us together in love.
This? Each a beautiful vessel, hand formed by The Artist.
This? This is a touch of heaven.
Oh, how I love groups of women like this!
But there are other kinds.
We know them. And sometimes we’ve been part of them, sadly. Women who leave women out in the cold.
We know women can wound worse than men on the battlefield.
Women stab. Women shoot. Women kill. Women terrorize and bomb and annihilate.
And the warfare weapons? Only two. Very effective. Very lethal.
The warring tongueand the ally ear.
Tongues don’t talk without willing ears.
We all know about gossip and slander and sarcasm—how wrong it is. But do we really know how damagingit is? We women are woven for relationship! But we can’t have true relationship when foundations of trust are shaky at best. We won’t drop our masks and get real when we’re afraid a woman will condemn or speak falsely or make fun with saber-toothed tongues behind our backs. So we walk around cautious and caged because distrust lingers among our own gender. And it’s real—not imagined.
Who of us hasn’t said or heard a slicing word about another woman not present? And if our mouths have not spoken, have our ears listened? Have we unknowingly collaborated?
The tongue can rip and wound but it needs a willing partner. Tongues need ears.
How often do we listen because we think we’re loving? Loving who? Are we loving the one venting? Are we loving the one being vented about? Are we loving ourselves by listening to what we ought not?
Jesus is clear in Matthew 18:15 when he says that if we have an issue with someone, we’re to go directly to that person first and try to work it out. God never supports unholy triangles where one person talks negatively about another person to another person. Unholy triangles are divisive and destructive. And not just to the one being talked about. Unholy triangles damage all involved.
We want to “support” so we listen to women share hurt feelings about another woman when they haven’t shared their hurt feelings with that woman.
And this is how unholy triangles form.
And this is how women kill real relationship.
We women know the Golden Rule. We mothers teach it to our kids.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Do we practice it among women?
Would we like to hover over groups of women and hear what they say behind backs?
Some women would rather stab than smooth. Some women would rather tear down rather than build up. And they behave based on appearances or presumptions. Tongues wag about some other woman not liked because of something not approved, not believed, don’t understood. Tongues wag about perceived hurts that might be unintentional or even untrue. Do we women really feel so weak and so vulnerable and so ugly that we have to tear down in order to feel safe, to feel good, to just—feel—okay?
I’ve been the sufferer. I’ve also been the sinner. I don’t like either. And after experiencing the great joining of spirit last weekend, I want more. I’m willing to commit to keeping my tongue in check. I’m ready to commit to Philippians 4:8-9 when it comes to my sisters, my fellow females:
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things . . . and the God of peace will be with you.
And if I feel hurt or offended or misunderstood? I will summon the courage to be direct—to go one-on-one instead of creating unholy triangles. And God give me the courage to encourage my sisters to be direct instead of trying to pull me into an unholy triangle against another sister.
Sisters! We need each other! We need to be able to trust each other. We need to be at peace with each other! We need to be FOR each other, not against each other.
I want to be at peace with God and the women in my life. After all, we are all sisters. Shouldn’t we bring out the best in each other? There’s plenty of love to go around.
Shall we start by bridling our tongues and encouraging God-pleasing talk?
Will we break bread and not hearts?
Sisters, let’s join around God’s table of blessing today. Today.
Be a blessing. Because you ARE a blessing.