July 5, 2011

Even the words that are left unsaid...

The room was packed. It was the mid-morning step class with a popular instructor at the gym. I got there early to get a good spot and not be relegated to the back where it is impossible to see what the teacher is doing. She had gotten there even earlier and, as usual, was waiting in the front row for the class to start.
You know the type: full-on 80’s make-up, big, teased hair, very tight top, and incredibly short shorts neither one of which are very flattering with her pear-shaped body type, but that she wears as proudly as a runway model would. The kind of girl that would make good southerners say: “oh, honey” and “bless her heart.”
I had seen her often around the gym because, while I’m not the most consistent of members, she is always there. Always. And for some reason I cannot explain, I just did not like her. She rubbed me the wrong way and I had never even spoken a word to the girl. I don’t know her name, I don’t know her story, and she had never even acknowledged my presence so I had no real reason to dislike her. Other than the shorts. And the make-up. And the hair. Irrationally her appearance annoyed me.
So this particular morning as we began to step to the music, following the instructor’s directions, I started  watching her from behind and thinking about her lack of rhythm and those shorts riding up. And then there was a gentle voice, like a whisper at the top of a mountain, that simply asked in my ear:
-          Why are you being so catty? You don’t even know this girl.
There was no condemnation in that gentle voice, only deep sadness. But my heart was convicted right away. I had no answer so I just listened, ashamed, and willing to hear the rest of the rebuke.
-    How would you feel if someone was saying these ugly things about your daughter?
This gripped my soul with pain for the little girl with the sensitive heart that breaks when a friend is mean to her or when someone laughs in her face. I thought about the times I have held her while she shed tears of embarrassment or hurt over another little girl’s nasty comment. And then came the most difficult words of the whole conversation:
-          That, right there, is my daughter.
And I was found guilty.
And in response to the gentle voice that does not accuse but definitely convicts, with tender tones and loving reminders, all I could do was repent. And express deep regret and apology. I had been ugly and I had been hurtful.
That the girl never heard my words is irrelevant.
Just as hate is like murder and lust is like adultery, so is judging like insulting.
What is hidden in our heart is to God the fountain out of which our thoughts, our words, and our actions flow. My nastiness towards that girl came out of a bitter heart, so the work would begin right there, at the core.  I thanked God for his faithful guidance and for the Holy Spirit’s convicting work and went back to the prayer of David, with whom I always identify:
“May the words of my mouth AND the meditation of my heart, be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 (emphasis mine)

22 comments:

Wonder Woman said...

*love* May i have permission to repost this to my friends?

*****Shelly***** said...

Wonderful post...and so true. One that I think we, as women, can relate to at one time (or a million) when found wallowing in our "cattiness." Think I'm going to grab your fb button and repost there....Blessings ~Shelly

Gaby said...

Of course! Share away. Thank you both for the encouragement :)

Deborah said...

That's my favorite prayer! Simple and to the point. It says it all.

Did you ever speak to this woman and get to know her? It would be really interesting to find out what she's actually like. I think we're all guilty of that kind of judgment.

Jen said...

Girl, I've heard that voice and felt that conviction. I have to repeat that verse to myself often!

Kristin Bridgman said...

Oh, I understand, I think we women have all been there. Thank you for being so honest and sharing. And your verse there is one I picked to be at the top of my blog. A good one to memorize and say every morning before getting out of bed! :)
Visiting from Jen's place

Jennifer said...

I know I've been there, and probably at the gym, too. It's so easy to let my thoughts take me to places I shouldn't be. But you're right--when we view others as God's children, the way we would view our children, our perspective can't help but change.

Great post!

Jen said...

Gripping. How we all are guilty of this same conviction. Just became your newest follower. ~ Jen

Erica said...

Wow, this is so true.
I often struggle with this with people of certain personality and I justify it because they are judgmental or too self righteous....The Lord LOVES them!!!!
Thanks for the gentle and beautiful reminder!

Christy said...

So perfectly written! I am convicted myself!

Nancy said...

And, yes, I probably would have been guilty of having the very same internal conversation. I like the way you highlighted the AND the meditation of my heart.

Thanks for stopping to visit JoAnn and me this week, my BCS sister!

Lavender Luz said...

Who gave you permission to get inside my head??

Love this post. Love how you went from catty to compassionate (even with yourself) just by being present.

Gaby said...

Y'all, I hate that this platform does not allow me to respond to comments individually. Does anyone know how to change that? Anyway, thank you all for the comments and encouragement. It's hard to write about your vulnerabilities and shortcomings but then...how would I know you all struggle with the same things!

Debbie said...

This is a stand up and cheer post to me. I have heard the same quiet voice. It sounds a bit to me like my grandmother. Not, of course, that it's a voice at all or a feminine one at that. It just has the same gentle nudge of love that she had which always carried the message, "I believe in you, and I believe that you know better than that."

Hope that makes sense.

That passage is one of my favorites and it convicts me on a regular basis.

I'm so grateful for it. Honestly, yours truly just can't be trusted without the Holy Spirit.

Kathleen @ Kath Ink said...

thanks for being brave to post these thoughts...oh, how often the Savior has to convict me....He is so tender -- the deep sadness. lovely, lovely post

Kathleen @ Kath Ink said...

Gaby, I just read the comments...after already commenting, thus this second comment. What I know about individually commenting is a program that is called Disqus. I have not used it but a blog that I read by Michael Hyatt highly recommends it. I have noticed that many blogs that I enjoy reading have gone to this type of comment system on their blogs. http://disqus.com/ Perhaps that will help you!

Michelle DeRusha@Graceful said...

I love your honesty, Gaby! This is a post we can ALL relate to in one way or another. I know I am Judgy Miss Judgy. Man, I've had some bad moments. And some moments when, thankfully, God has spoken kindly but firmly to me -- sometimes right then and there, sometimes a bit later when I am digging into the Bible.

P.S. I tried Disqus on my blog. I really, really liked it...and then it conked out inexplicably one day, and for some reason I have not been able to reinstall it. Something about my computer is blocking it. Grrrrr. But while I had it, I liked it!

Amy Sullivan said...

Hey girl,
Just coming by to check on you...

Lynn said...

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a large group of women at a resturant. They were all professionally dress with their hair and make-up nicely done, all except one. There was 1 out of the 30 that were there that stood out because her hair was slightly unkept looking, she had no make-up on, and although she wasn't the biggest woman there, she was dressed in a way that outwardly showed she was self conscience about her size. Her effort to hide actually made her stand out. I was remarking on this at the dinner table that night with my family (just in a curious way, not insulting) and my 7 year old son said, "She must be sad in her life. I wonder why." I was absolutly floored first, that a boy of his age would have caught that, and second, that I had not. I prayed for that woman that very night. I also pray that my son will always be sensitive to unknow backstories. Your post reminded me of that.

Gaby said...

Wow, Lynn. We have so much to learn from our children, don't we? My daughter has begun picking up when my husband and I fuss and reminding me to forgive and be kind. At five, she is my little accountability friend.

You have a gift with your little guy with such a sensitive heart!

Robin @ Pink Dryer Lint said...

Awesome post. Thank you for your honesty and candor! What a touching reminder.

Melissa from the Blue House said...

Oh man. So convicting! I came over from Its Almost Naptime and LOVED this...