She had broken her leg and with four kids at home and her husband deployed, she needed help. We were discussing how we could help this worn out mom at our monthly Spouse’s Meeting. Provide meals, taxi her children back and forth to school, clean her house….all much needed help in her household. But as the conversation unfolded, talk went from helpful, constructive ideas, to critical, condescending words pouring over the one we set out to help.
It only takes one, you know. Just one to sway a conversation!
One to point out the flaw….the mess of a house this woman lives in on a good day.
Her weakness is brought front and center and we pass it around and secretly compare it to our own weakness.
It takes just one insecurity to make a whole mess of things.
And this whole thing crumbles.
What started out as a goodwill gesture to help a hurting military spouse, transforms into a torrential downpour of criticism over this poor woman.
And I watch as we collectively pull her deep under water, for the sole purpose of lifting ourselves up!!!
But it doesn’t end there.
Then we compare. And we point out that time when our husband left and the floodgates opened. Because don’t we want our hardships to be recognized as well? Her mother got sick and she had to take care of three kids and an ailing parent. And yes, the one who is on her fifth deployment and she is left to move to a new location with three little ones in tow and no man in sight.
The comparison game takes flight and we all assess whether or not this woman really has it all that bad.
And this poison spreads and fills the room with its toxic fumes. Invisible walls go up, as we recognize the threat to our safety. We realize we can be next. Our head may not be on the chopping block today, but what about next time?
When we allow poison to drip from our lips, we advertise our inability to harbor a hurting soul.
But, it only takes ONE to sway a conversation.
May we be that ONE to defend the reputation of the defenseless.
“You’re here to defend the defenseless, to make sure that underdogs get a fair break…” Psalm 82:3 (The Message)
May we be that ONE to sway the conversation toward grace and love and friendship.
“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24
May we be the ONE to harbor a hurting soul!!!
“When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need — words that will help others become stronger. Then what you say will do good to those who listen to you.” Ephesians 4:29