I will never forget the day I heard the news; a good friend had shot himself in the foot. How could this have happened? What on earth was he possibly thinking? You don’t die from getting shot in the foot do you?
No, you do not normally die but then this was no ordinary person or gun. A man who stood up for what he believed also carried a 44 magnum with a light-trigger. It just took an instant for a beautiful sunny, calm day to descend into chaos. He lived after losing a lot of blood and a large part of his foot. My question to him in the hospital was blunt and to the point.
“What on earth were you doing?”
Words can be just like bullets, mouths like 44 magnums or 9 mm Berettas. Verbal sparring, the quick shot is fun and we often get a rush when a direct hit is scored. A painful example lingers from a simple yet careless phrase the passed through email to nick a friend’s heart. It just took a moment to type in the words, hit send, and for the wound to appear. What happened in an instant took weeks to mend and even longer to heal.
“Malice backfires; spite boomerangs.” (Proverbs 26.27)
The opposite is equally true. A request to a friend came back with a prayer and an expression of care and compassion. My energy level jumped as I read the note. I didn’t expect the rush but it was there. I can still feel the lift carrying on.
I would be the last one to suggest that there is a sugar coated ending to every conversation or conflict. I am in the middle of a few at the moment that I wonder how they can possibly ever work out. What I am focused on is my contribution to the process. Am I helping the people involved by sharing the mercy, grace, and compassion I receive from God or am I spitting malice and lashing out with spite?
It is a choice.