If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
The importance of this chapter for those who move ahead in life with a badly damaged or severed relationship is that you do what it is that God requires so you can live your life knowing you have done what you could. The Bible acknowledges that peace is not always possible between two parties, but even if you are the only one willing to pursue peace you can at least move forward with the scar of a broken relationship without the nagging guilt of having not done what you know you should. Dancing with the Scars of a severed relationship is impossible when continuing in personal disobedience. For some of you who are hesitating as you read this let me mention that there are people in life who we could well describe as toxic, maybe even just to you. A reminder is in order that this book is for and about you, not those over which you have no control who may be one of those toxic people who, for whatever reason, can never be reasoned or reconciled with. This chapter is not about laying the entire responsibility of restoring severed relationships on you, it is about how to keep yourself from being ruled by them and letting your word wounds scar over.
When words that wound come in the form of friendly fire, meaning from those you shouldn’t have to worry about them coming from, family members, close friends, etc., there are several important things to consider. The first is something my wife Teri and I adopted as a practice a long time ago. It’s not easy and it requires some brutal self-examination and honesty, but, when wounded by a friendly fire we ask ourselves a question; “Is there any truth in what was said?” Sometimes we miss the truth of a message because of the method of the messenger, or the words hurt so much because of the source that we simply cannot allow ourselves to examine them for any element of truth. We had a toxic person in our life when we were younger for a few years who said things that could best be described as; chocolate daggers. They were presented as being well-meant and loving but in looking back it is clear they were mean-spirited and controlling. It was actually during this season that we adopted this practice of examining everything said to us for any elements of truth that could help us grow, even if the intent and source were meant for evil and not good.
There are other times when words spoken wound us and the intent is not to harm and the spirit behind them is in our best interest and we all would recognize there is just a no good or easy way to say a hard thing. The point here is to realize that there are differences in word wounds. Some hurt our pride and nothing more, some hurt our souls and were intended to. This distinction has to be made in order to identify the means through which a wound can become a scar. I also do not want to treat this aspect of learning how to Dance with the Scars created by the words of others carelessly, words matter. Consider the reality that people have their eternal destinies changed by “hearing the word of God.” Words are powerful, words can impact someone’s life for the rest of their life and there are far too many relationships that were broken because someone was a little too honest or candid with their words, even though they were true.
Excerpt from “Dancing With the Scars” now available on Amazon.