When I was small and would complain about something, my mother would warn me about my tongue and the words I speak. I always thought that was the dumbest thing I had ever heard.
“Ahh Ma! That’s just DUMB!”
Now that I’m all grown up (hah), I have come to realise the seriousness of the effect our tongues do have on our lives. They can cause real damage, so much so that it is no wonder that James calls our tongue a flame of fire – that thing causes third degree burns (James 3:6). Not only can it burn ourselves but people around us too.
I once had planned on fasting for two weeks. But from day one it was awful. I have been fasting for years and this was the hardest fast I had ever done. I couldn’t understand why. But I was depressed by day two and very miserable. I could not understand what I was so depressed about. It was not even hunger that was bothering me, but the depression. However, the depression made any hunger harder to deal with. It was really bugging me.
“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?”
I like to get to work a little earlier while fasting so that I can pray. So one morning I asked the Lord to help me and moaned, “Lord, what on earth is my problem? I know fasting is not supposed to be an easy sail, but why am I so depressed and finding this fast so incredibly hard to deal with? I have nothing to be depressed about, please help me?”
I sat by my window watching the sunrise while I had decided to go through Psalms 42. It was soothing to my soul, it felt like a warm blanket wrapped around me and I felt the depression dissipate.
“Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance”
However, even though I had read that Psalm so many times, that day my mind kept thinking about the deer in verse one
“As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God”
I thought about why a deer was used as a representation there, and pictured him lovingly sipping of the cool brook. As I tried getting on with my work, my mind would keep wondering back to the deer.
Then it hit me!
I had remembered once reading in one of my dad’s wildlife magazines that deer get extremely thirsty after coming into contact or a fight with their most deadly enemy – the snake/serpent! The word ‘pant’ here means “longing for water”.
Then, a few days afterward I had found out that a certain number of people had been saying the most awful, hateful things about me, and about my fasting, during the exact same week I was doing the fast!
Was this the serpent I was unknowingly battling that week?
Were the hateful words said about me the fiery darts affecting my fast?
Were the fiery flames of those words causing my depression to negatively affect my fast?
I believe they were.
Where there’s coincidence, there’s fire.
I would love to catch a glimpse into the spirit world of what happens when negative or hateful words are spoken. I don’t think it is a pretty sight.
Let us always be watchful of the things we say, especially concerning our brothers and sisters in Christ. I learnt a good lesson. It was such an awful experience that I am super mindful about what I say about others now. I never want someone to go through what I experienced there.
In a way I was glad it happened, as ugly as it was. I thought back to the times where I said less than pleasant things about others and I was horrified! I prayed for them to be set free from any demonic forces my words might have brought them.
I also learned the importance of praying for protection against hateful or negative words said about me, especially while fasting.
Nasty words are the cheap shot in war. The person can’t see them coming and runs the risk of losing out on a blessing when they can’t figure out what is wrong.
Christ our Captain sees though, and will still lead His children to victory.
Which side of the war will offenders be left on…