Words are flying in the morning as the children come rushing into our bedroom demanding justice. This one said that and that one responded like this, and interruptions shoot across accusations, taking casualties as they fly. After a thorough hearing of the escalation of events that all happened while I was enjoying a holiday lie in, I declare my verdict. ‘Guilty’ for the accused, and equally ‘guilty’ for the accuser.
The six involved are looking at me with big eyes, nervously chewing their lips as they wait to hear the sentencing. The wooden ‘family-persuader’ lies idly next to me as I look out the window and think. They’ve interrupted my morning bible reading, and I decide to use the rod of correction that God uses so regularly on me.
“Respond gently when you are confronted and you’ll defuse the rage of another,” I read to them from Proverbs 15. “Responding with sharp, cutting words will only make it worse. Don’t you know that being angry can ruin the testimony of even the wisest of men?”
“When you speak healing words, you offer others fruit from the tree of life.”
I decide on a sentence: Find words that heal each other’s hurt, and the ‘family-persuader’ will stay where it lies.
And words run like cool water over sibling squabbles, and soon they’re leaving laughing-relieved and walking tall from the words that have healed.
Rich and I are lazing at the lunch table picking at the last of our crumbs and watching through the glass at the seven throwing tennis balls. Balls are dropping more often than they should be, and inside we drop a few words of judgement, and find they fall heavy on the floor.
The fact is they really are dropping more balls than they should be, but it’s also a fact, and kind-of funny, how God seems happy to call us what we should be and what we are becoming rather than what we are. “Saints; salt of the earth; light of the world; seated in heavenly places; able to do all things through Christ.”
God’s words over us are words of creation, not observation.
We’ve tasted of the fruit from the tree of life when healing words are spoken. Through January every time we left home for the hospital, I blessed a silly little twig planted outside our gate over a year ago that has refused to become a tree. By the time we brought Kiara home the twig had sprouted green for the first time. And as I blessed Kiara and spoke words of life over her every night during her bedtime massage, I spoke death over a stubborn wart that has been flourishing on her baby finger. It fell off!
Frisbees are flying this afternoon, and we let fly some healing words, too. Good try! So close! You’re doing a great job. What a great frisbee-thrower you are becoming!
And we smile at each other knowingly, because it feels a bit strange to partner with God in constructive creation, rather than just carving off faults. But, once again, we are convinced of the infallability of the word of God as we watch our kids devour the fruit from the tree of life that we are offering with our words. Life flourishes as they lick the juice of its fruit off their chins and call out to us, “Look at me, Mom and Dad! Watch me throw!”
And the frisbee flies perfectly.