Tag Archives: anger

When the Tables are Turned, is it Abuse… or Righteous Anger?

The table was shoved over in a fit of rage when I was around eight. There’d been a bit of squabbling at the table, as happens between eight-year-old and four-year-old kids, but nothing out of the ordinary. It came as a complete shock. It was apparently the last straw; the one that broke the camel’s back. The flimsy card table in our tiny Italian kitchen was suddenly flipped over. There was a scream, and tomato rice soup was flying everywhere. What just happened? Our entire lunch was on the floor; the table upended on its side. And suddenly it was silent.

As I surveyed the red creamy soup splattered all over the walls and in puddles on the floor, we began to cry. My little sister started yelling, “My tooth! My tooth!” In a flurry of activity, we ran to kneel on the floor beside her and look into her mouth. Fear. Had the table smacked her in the face on its way down? Then, suddenly relief, as the discovery came… “It’s a piece of rice! It’s just a piece of rice!” 

I guess it was the relief, because it surely wasn’t joy, that brought the nervous laughter. Suddenly we got the impression it was not so bad after all. In fact, it was all quite funny. But it was actually only funny, because we were trained to believe it was so. The brainwashing had set in long before. I knew what to do. I was supposed to laugh along; make light of the situation. That way no one would get mad… and I wouldn’t get into trouble. And then we could all put a smile on our face and pretend it had never happened. 

What was that after all? Was it abuse, or was it righteous anger?

Well, let’s compare it to another scenario from a time long before. Instead of little kids bickering at the kitchen table, there were money changers in the courts of God’s Holy Temple. And they weren’t innocently sitting at tables eating their lunch. No. They were sitting at tables exchanging foreign money. And instead of having a little argument to top it off, merchants were also selling sheep, cattle, and doves to be sacrificed. Instead of children facing an angry woman, the merchants and money changers came face to face with an angry man… an angry man who just happened to be the Son of God! 

Jesus didn’t shove a flimsy table of food to the ground; he shoved multiple tables, scattering tons of coins: here, there, and everywhere! If that wasn’t frightening enough, he created a whip out of cords, and sent the animals running hither and dither from the temple’s courtyard! Merchants and money changers were in his Father’s House, and Jesus was mad as a hornet! Did you know that Jesus yelled too?! “To those who sold doves he said, ‘Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market’ ” (John 2:16 New International Version)!

What was that after all? Was it abuse? Or was it righteous anger?

Well, if you had to choose which situation to witness, which one would you pick? I know which one I would choose. For the silver lining is in knowing that my Savior is good, and perfect, and pure. Though the scene with Jesus was extra dramatic, I would have surveyed the whole scene with peace, instead of anxiety. I would have sat on the sidelines knowing that his corded whip was not for me, nor the righteous anger, nor the disciplinary action. I also wouldn’t have been forced to fake laugh, and pretend I was okay. This is because my confidence is in Christ. My Savior knows what he is doing, has a purpose for it all the time, and it is always good.

I can see myself as a small, skinny eight-year-old girl, about the age of my daughter, sitting on a wall in the courtyard. I’m watching Jesus; glad that he is clearing the temple of the bad guys. I’m sitting in my ratty brown robe, barefoot, swinging my legs against the stone wall, waiting for him to finish his work. I can hardly wait for him to toss down the whip and head over to me. Everyone is gone; the merchants, the buyers, the money changers, and the animals. It’s just me left.  As he comes towards me, I bow my head, but it’s not out of fear. 

It’s out of reverence. It’s because I know he’s getting ready to pull me into his comforting, warm embrace of unconditional love. My head is down because I know his hand is going to touch the top of my curly auburn head, and he’s going to say, “I love you, my child. There’s nothing to fear.” But I’m not afraid anyway. And when I look up into his beautiful, dark face, and smile into his kind, brown eyes;  I nod my head. I can’t talk, because I’m overjoyed. But he understand me. He can read my mind. He knows I’ve remembered. He knows that I, just like “His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me” (John 2:17).

Prayer: 

Dear God, turn the tables in my life. Where I am weak, make me strong. Cleanse my mind of the lies I was taught as a child. Fill me with The Holy Spirit, and open my eyes to the truth. Instead of bitter anger, help me to continue to forgive those who have sinned against me, just as you have forgiven those who have sinned against you. Remove the deceit from those who have become blind to the truth. Bring instead, wisdom and discernment, to those who seek Your Face. 

Years later, I’m on fire for You, Lord. My speech, and my body have experienced the shaking strength of righteous anger, and in it I did not sin; just as you my Savior, did not sin in the temple courtyard. I am zealous for you, Jesus. I’m zealous for others to make their home with you in Heaven. It consumes me, and I don’t care if the world hates me for it. Even if I’m the only one left sitting in your courtyard, I will wait for you to come get me. I want to live in your house forever. I want my home to be wherever you may be. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for your eternal love. 

“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord” (Rom. 12:11).

Related Posts:

PAST PATHS… AND OTHER THINGS TOO PAINFUL TO MENTION

SHE’S A LITTLE RUNAWAY: A JOURNEY FROM REJECTION TO ACCEPTANCE 


Jesus Is INSTRUMENTAL to your Healing!

No one can tell me there isn’t a GOD! God gave my son a MIRACLE! He gave my dad a MIRACLE at the same time! They are no longer sick. They have been healed! JESUS IS THE MIRACLE! Repent, and ask him to come into your life!

I posted this good news to social media, on March 27, 2014; three years ago, and as a ‘butterfly blip’ on my blog. How timely, to discover it again during this Easter month, when I’ve chosen the theme of HEALING. 

There is more to share about our family’s trial of suffering through the terrible diseases of eosinophilic esophagitis, cancer, and a pulmonary embolism resulting in three brushes with death. There is much to say, in order to offer hope to those who’ve given up because they’re so sick; and to tell them how Jesus heals generational illnesses through the simple act of forgiving through Jesus Christ. Those stories, and more, will come. 

But today, it’s the day before Easter! And I want to tell you that Jesus is The Great Physician! He is a Miracle Maker! He can do what no earthly doctor can; simply by choosing to answer our prayers! Doctors, nurses, and medicine are wonderful things. Of course they are, for they only came about, because God created them. God guides doctors’ hands and gives them wisdom. God fills nurses’ hearts with compassion and knowledge. God creates men and women with intricate brains, so they can research and invent medines to help cure what ails us. 

But none of it works without God’s healing touch, and God needs none of it at all to heal us; when He can simply reach down… and perform a miracle! The power of prayer and anointing makes modern medicine go farther… and it can also stand alone, leaving us in awe at what God can do without human intervention. Prayer and anointing bring us closer to God, and they point us to the Great I AM; proving He is solely in charge of our health. God can heal in an instant… but He wants a relationship with us. He wants to show us how much He loves us!

This is why, three years ago, I was able to write this post on social media!  And GOD gets ALL the glory! For both my son, and my father, had over 500 people praying for them to be healed. Both were anointed in the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. And both… were mightily, and miraculously healed!

My Easter praise from 2014:

“Praise the Lord!

My son is in remission from his Eosinophilic Esophagitis!

There are no eosinophils (white blood cells) in his esophagus. Zero!

No signs of damage. Complete remission!
God is so good!


How interesting it is that God’s timing for healing my son is at the same time that God’s saved my father’s life!

It is true that God does things in a big way (abundantly).

Both my father and my son each have more hurdles, and they both each have a big one, but God is good, and I’m excited about the plans he has for us!

“The LORD sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness” (Psalm 41:3 New International Version).

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3 ).

Thank you everyone for your prayers!”

That was my message in 2014, and I believe in it three years later, more than ever! So, go ahead; make your appointments, and go to the doctor. Do not neglect your health, which should be high priority; as we care for our children, parents, and ourselves. But in doing so, do not spiritually neglect your health. I’m not talking about “meditative states,” “colorful energy,” or “sending positive vibes.” These actions do nothing; and in fact, can cause both believers, and unbelievers, to stray from The Truth. I’m talking about reading healing scriptures from the Bible, praying to God,  and pursuing The Great Physician; Jesus Christ! NOW we are talking about HOPE for HEALING!

Take your suffering, pain, illness, infirmary, sickness, emotional distress, depression, incurable disease, hopeless dire situation… and LAY IT BEFORE THE FEET OF JESUS, AT THE CROSS, FIRST! Then go where God tells you to go, and take it one step at a time. Let Jesus carry your burden. He has already promised to do it for you!

” ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light’ ” (Matt. 11:29-30).

Now I must get some sleep. For it is almost time to enjoy “Easter in the Park,” where my now healthy son, will be playing music under the gazebo with his twin brother… ALL to serve GOD; so children can enjoy the day hunting for colored eggs, and most importantly, learn about Jesus Christ… The Miracle Maker!

Trust in Jesus to heal you… and give you VICTORY! 

GOT JESUS? He’s got enough love for YOU too! Here how to get to know him! HOW TO INVITE JESUS INTO YOUR HEART, AND RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE!

Visit The Silver Lining Facebook page for even more encouragement on: HEALING, by other Christian authors, poets, and bloggers as well as myself.  I invite you to join my page, and invite others, so they can be lifted up by godly truths founded in scripture; which when applied, can change, heal, and save lives!  

Read more blog posts on HEALING!

Original link:  Looking Back on Easter Miracles

Queen Bee Gossip: Sweet as Honey or a Toxic Sting? (Series: Toxic People and Situations)

What can be done when annoying bees buzz gossip into our ears, casting doubt about a friend or loved one’s character? How do you handle it?  Do you accept the information as valid and true, or do you go directly to your friend for his or her side of the story? Have you let a good relationship go to waste, simply because you accepted a story that caused you to side with the gossip, or did you consider something may be wrong if you only heard from one party?

When we think about the times we have found ourselves in these situations, do we discover that we’ve taken sides with the gossip, without knowing all the facts; or have we given our loved ones the benefit of the doubt?  Did we ever allow the person being gossiped about, to come to his or her defense? Did the person even know about it? Did the person give up? Why or why not? Was the person being gossiped about… you?

At one time or another, we’ve all found ourselves in a sticky situation when someone suddenly starts talking about someone else. In that moment, we have a choice to participate, or not participate. It can be uncomfortable to speak up about it, but the person who should really be feeling uncomfortable is the gossip herself. If we choose to participate, we will find ourselves stuck in a hive, wondering how to escape a sticky situation. Those who engage in gossip are often afraid to fly away from the queen bee, because they’re usually fearful of getting stung themselves!  And they will… get stung… because if a gossip is sharing info with you, the gossip will share info about you. To think this is false, is to live in denial about the spirit of gossip and how it works.

A gossip’s tasty little bits of information may initially seem to be sweet as honey, but there’s something to be said about food that is sickeningly sweet. When a gossip shares her irresistible story, people willingly eat it up. This is because the gossip falsely makes you feel special; as if it’s an honor to have been chosen to be trusted with her private little story. But it’s kind of like having a chocolate chip… you can’t eat just one. Each tasty morsel gives you a desire for another, and a little bit isn’t enough to satisfy. Eventually the listener wants a whole cookie, something to fill the belly:

“The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts” (Prov. 18:8 New International Version).


If the gossip is really experienced, she or he will work hard to turn you away from her enemies, from the very people God intended for you to have in your life… truthful, compassionate, loving people. Why would a gossip do this? Because the gossip has an agenda: It’s an agenda to get attention from you, no matter what the cost is to anyone else. If the gossip is successful at getting you to stop talking to your friends and loves ones, and you don’t even really know how it happened, you may want to consider the fact that this busy bee body is downright toxic.

By definition, toxic means poisonous! Who wants to be near poison? Wouldn’t we want to separate ourselves from it? Of course! The gossip knows this, so the gossip creates the division first, to distract you from the real problem… the gossip herself! However, instead of you being separated from the gossip, you are instead craftily separated from the friends and loved ones who are a positive influence in your life. A gossip separates friends out of spite, jealousy, low self-esteem, selfishness and self-centeredness.

“A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends” (Prov. 16:28).


The Bible condemns gossips; even grouping them into the same category as liars, slanderers, and God-haters!  God is not referring to this group with favor. A gossip is always a liar too. Why? Because the juicier the story, the larger the gossip’s audience will be, and embellishment means that more attention will be bestowed upon the gossip.

“They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. (Rom.8:29-31).

Try this experiment: Watch a gossip in action. Observe how people engage with her. They move in closer to her, and shut out those who are their targets. The gossip whispers for dramatic effect. People “oooh” and “ahhh” over her phrases. The news is always negative, and it is usually shocking. Bits of truth are thrown in to make the story seem true, and to make the gossip seem like a credible witness. The audience reacts by mimicking the gossip’s emotions. If she’s angry, they are “righteously” angry for her. If she’s having a pity party, her audience gladly pats her on the back and agrees that the person being gossiped about is truly thoughtless, unforgiving, and unChristianlike.

The gossip is the center of attention and the gossip wants to keep it that way. The focus will be on her and how much better she is than someone else, how she’s been mistreated by someone else, and how she is concerned about someone else. In essence, the gossip is an expert know-it-all about the person who is not even there to defend himself.  A genuine Christian should use discretion when concerned about a loved one;  and should seek to keep quiet about things that could hurt someone else or damage relationships among friends and loved ones:

“Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs” (Prov. 10:12).

Gossip is like having a  judge rule over a court case without allowing the defendant to speak. It’s like a football game when the offense runs forward to make a touchdown, but the defending team isn’t even there to try and intercept the ball.  If you challenge the gossip with questions to  verify how she got her information, her feathers will get ruffled, and she will become offended. She will become uncomfortable, and only then will she make an effort to change the subject.

In the worst case scenario, the gossip has no empathy, yet displays fake empathy by manipulating her captive audience into believing that she is concerned about the person being discussed. She is now in control of the situation, by having played on people’s emotions. Meanwhile the person being gossiped about is living a normal, healthy productive life, and usually has no clue about how much damage the gossip is causing behind his back. Yet slowly, bit by bit, people drop out of his life, all because of the gossip’s made up stories! Rarely will a good and fair man or woman come forward and say, “I heard this about you… is it true?” But why shouldn’t we do this? Why would we accept a one-sided conversation as truth? The Bible itself tells us this is a very naive thing to do:

“The naive believes everything, But the sensible man considers his steps” (Prov. 14:15 New American Standard Bible).

Most people can’t imagine how someone would play with real human lives in such a manner. But the truth is, it does happen, and it’s more often than we’d like to think. It happens when a gossip is at her very worst; and becomes a completely self-absorbed, self-centered, narcissistic person: Everything will be about her… everything. Not all gossips are narcissists; but ALL narcissists are gossips!  Beware the self-centered sting of narcissism!

If you’ve been caught up in the sin of gossip, the silver lining is that gossip is forgivable and escapable!  Repent of participating in gossip, and ask God whether He wants you to apologize to those who have been hurt by your participation in it. God makes good out of all things, when we come to Him with a repentant heart. Though it may take a while, God can heal broken relationships, and He can repair broken hearts. One small act of repentance can bring about a lifetime of beautiful gifts. God is a God of restoration. He can even replace many years which were lost due to the sin of gossip, and heal all the hearts involved. Ask God to remove gossip from your life today!

” ‘I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten– the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm — my great army that I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed” (Joel 2:25-27 New International Version).


If you’re the one being gossiped about, remember that God is your protector. The Holy Spirit is at work, convicting the hearts of those who accuse you. You’re not alone. Jesus knows exactly how you feel. He chose not to defend himself, even though He was, and is, God’s beloved Son. He knew God had a better plan, and he trusted His Father. When we are unjustly slandered, by those who gossip about us, we can rejoice in the fact that we are taking part in the suffering of Jesus for his namesake. Not only do we take part in the suffering, but we will also take part in the great joy of God’s Kingdom! God will judge all of it, and make it right. Don’t waste your time with a queen bee, when you belong to the KING!

“Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:17-18).


Stay tuned for these upcoming June posts from the Series: Toxic People, Toxic Situations… 
Is She a Gossip? … 10 Red Flags

10 Ways to Escape Gossip

The Self-Centered Sting of Narcissism

The Jezebel Spirit

Flying Monkeys… What are They?

Jezebel’s Chess Game… Win or Lose?

The Family that Prays Together…

Yesterday marked one week into my recovery from back surgery. God announced His goodness by giving me a beautiful, sunny spring day to enjoy! I was so happy and excited! My twin young men cleaned off the umbrella table, and untied the chairs which had been stored for the winter, hoisting them effortlessly onto the back deck, so I could sit and breathe in the fresh, clean air. My daughter was suddenly more interested in her school books, which were filled with clocks, verbs, and Venn diagrams. She cheerfully grabbed her pencil, because we were going to have school outside for the day. I gazed at the breathtaking view of our backyard, thanking God as I soaked in the blooms on the pear and cherry trees. My favorite was the brilliant cobalt of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which will be barely visible when the trees become dressed in their shiny, green summer leaves. 

What a lovely day for my daughter to play on her swing set, and jump on the trampoline. It was ideal for my husband and me, as we walked down the driveway, for my first outdoor excursion since the surgery. Perfection! NOT! … Because Christian families who pretend that everything is perfect and merry all the time are… well, quite frankly… lying. For suddenly there was strife and squabbling, unexpectedly, out of the beautiful deep blue. There was anger, pride, rudeness, and a black cloud where the sun had been shining only moments before. And then from Mom (yeah, that would be me) there were some not-very-nice-words,  and no… not the tears! There can not be tears from Mom; she never cries in front of anybody! She learned it years ago… people don’t care about you… so do not let them see your tears! For if you do, ferocious wolves will rip you to pieces! But suddenly I didn’t care that they saw the tears. I knew I was hurting inside and out; and I needed to cry, even though the tears made me vulnerable to… (oh no!)… REJECTION!  Brave, courageous, strong Mom, had succumbed to a sobbing, inconsolable mess of… tears

But this time, I recognized the attack for what it was… a spirit of strife. I also recognized the lies: The day was NOT ruined, my family was NOT going to let me deal with this alone, this was NOT my family from childhood; so my precious family here at home was NOT going to make fun of me or be mean to me for crying, and the devil was NOT going to ruin this day for my family or me! I pondered the truths: This is my family who supports, encourages, prays for; and loves me unconditionally. This is my family who helps me run my blog: proofs and edits my drafts, rescues my computer crashes, updates my computer, gives me ideas, creates special images, poses for my photos, and patiently gives me tons of time… while I write my blog! This is my family, and they support my ministry, as I do what I love! They are on board with me, and I am on board with them! We are in it together

We gathered for an amazing dinner; one of my all-time favorites; chicken tacos and chocolate chip cookies, which had thoughtfully been prepared for us by my sweet friend, Rita. We told the devil to “Get out of our home, and off of our property, in the name of Jesus.” You see,  even my little girl has the power and authority to tell the devil to get lost. Why? Because we are God’s children and we have… privileges

Because we recognized the evil spirits, which had come to do battle on the land God gave us, we were prepared to fight. We repented of our sinful nature, asked God and family members to forgive us, and repaired some issues which needed to be dealt with, so that our bond will remain unbroken, and more closely knit than ever. We are a family unit, which God has put together for a reason, a purpose, and His calling. We cannot afford to ignore the fact that there is a spiritual battle each and every day, with the intention of destroying each one of us, and ripping our precious family apart. That old saying; “The family that prays together, stays together,” is true! It’s our family… and it can be your family too! We are a force to be reckoned with, a bond which is to remain unbroken, because God is our Father, and we are His children. 

“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Mark 10:9 New International Version). This verse applies to marriage, but it applies to our children too. Because, when it comes time for them to leave us and create their own families, we will also be grateful for the ones God has chosen to be a part of our lives, and we will fight for them too. Hence, our strength in numbers will be even greater, and there will be even more love to go around! 

Pretending everything is perfect isn’t doing anybody any favors. But knowing who is at the center of your family, and keeping Him there… IS! The rest of the day was filled with the sweetness of apologies, forgiveness, relief, comfort, laughter, laughs, cuddles, and hugs! We also repaired something that had broken down in our family… a way of communication which was, in actuality, hurting everyone. But it wasn’t something that could just simply repair itself. It is something that requires the never-ending mercy, grace, forgiveness; and unconditional love of Jesus Christ; who is alway invited to our table, and welcome in our home. For we are children of God! 

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:12-13).


#knowyourrights  #eliminatestrife #childrenofGod #Jesusbemycenter

Blog posts directly related to this series on surgery and healing:

When You’re Sick, God Shows Up… Because He’s Already There!

The Unexpected Joy of Rest

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She’s a Little Runaway: A Journey from Rejection to Acceptance 

As a teen, I lived in Alaska, in two different houses, over a five year period. I snuck out several times from both, and ran away from each one. Some of these times were known to others, and some were not. But of the two times I felt the most desperate need bolt, the most desperate run away attempt was the least successful. Maybe it was because I seemed to run backwards. Perhaps it was a mix of fear, false security, guilt, and concern over leaving a loved one left behind, along with worrying what my friends would think; but running away became a more desperate desire, yet I seemed to fall further and further from my goal of making it happen. 

In any regard, not making that final run, was definitely not because I had suddenly decided home was a safe place to stay. It was more like the jail door was open, but a tornado was whirling at the front door. Which option was best for me? Years later, I now know which option was best…the tornado by far. It might have landed me some place safe, like the baby you read about in the news, who is scooped up into a tornado’s belly, and vomited safely into a dresser drawer two towns over; safely sleeping. After all, Dorothy survived a tornado, and while on her journey, was kept safe from lions, tigers, and bears; and also from the witches and the flying monkeys sent out to destroy her. But unlike Dorothy, the phrase, “There’s no place like home,” meant something entirely different to me.

The first attempt at running away came out of sheer desperation to leave the role of scapegoat I had been assigned by my family. I couldn’t take it anymore, being blamed for everyone else’s problems. As the scapegoat in a family reeking with dysfunction, I was tired of being the excuse for everyone else’s issues, problems, and bad behavior. Sure I was an imperfect teenager, fully capable of mouthing off and being selfish, but not to any extreme some would be led to believe. I was a good kid; compassionate, intelligent, and funny. Why wasn’t I loved? It was never enough, so I kept trying harder to prove myself, and I was about to break. Being labeled a “problem child” subtly causes a shifting focus, which is exactly the intent; for the idea is to blind others to the truth of the real chaos lying underneath, and to distract them, so denial can go on and lives of sin can continue without inspection. 

I’d given up on getting attention or love, but I still hoped to remain under the radar, undetected, left alone to live my own life in peace. But that wasn’t about to happen, so I became angry. I began to rebel, because I knew it couldn’t be all my fault. I knew the truth and began to fight for myself, because I realized no one else was going to. “A brother wronged is more unyielding than a fortified city; disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel” (Prov. 18:19 New International Version).

However, it was getting harder and harder to see the truth, when the fiery darts kept coming. Though I was saved, I didn’t yet understand how to defend myself with prayer. The phrases were aimed at me, over and over: “Why can’t you do anything right… Why can’t you be more like (someone else)… What is wrong with you… Why do you have to ruin everything?????”  These were the lies which years later, I would learn to renounce in the name of Jesus. I still have to pray against them today, but they come less often. “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Eph. 6:16).

How could it be only my fault when my thumb was smashed black and blue after being slammed in the doorframe, and then my face slapped afterwards for cussing from the pain of the “accident.” And even worse, was when that cold hand forcefully slammed down flat dead center on top of my head; HARD. There was actually a witness then, but when everyone is trained not to tell, even adults remain silent. Reporting it doesn’t even cross your mind; it would likely be futile. Who would believe it? For, those things just don’t happen in families that go to church on Sundays, where girls wear pretty dresses, and invite their friends to come with them, because the family is a positive influence and a good example. 

Like any hurting teen, I believed if I didn’t protect myself, they would break me. I refused to be broken, not realizing I was already constantly gluing the precious broken pieces of myself back together. And that’s what l was doing… holding on to all my broken pieces, the night I was done being blamed. Of course no comfort; only condemnation, was offered that dark night when I shouted, “Then I’ll leave!” There was no reassurance of love, or a reminder that I was wanted, a gentle plea to stay and talk and pray about it. Instead, I was told that if I was going to go, I would have leave my coat behind, since I hadn’t bought it with my own money.

On Elmendorf Air Force Base, it was less than 30 degrees that evening, and pitch black outside. I had nowhere to go. But it took me less than a second to make my decision: I shoved off my new white downy coat with sporty blue stripes, threw it to the floor, and ran. I ran out into the black night, looking to the left and looking to the right. The icy clean air took my breath away. I ran towards my best friend’s house, but knew that would be the first place I’d be expected to be found. Her home life wasn’t stable either. It wasn’t an option. So I wandered. I wandered far past anywhere my friends and I ever wandered, even by our independent standards of doing whatever we wanted and going wherever we felt like going. I ran to warm up, but I slowed as the wheezing started. I was an asthmatic; just another way I’d caused problems for everyone else. I blew on my frigid fingers, and I scratched at the welts raising up under my jeans. I would get them when I got cold, due to a protein in my blood which reacts starkly to frigid temperatures. I didn’t realize then, that I actually suffered constantly from cold urticaria, which can in severe instances; cause low blood pressure, anaphylactic shock, and death. 

I still didn’t want to go back. At the same time, I’d seen the footage they show all the military families upon first arriving to The Last Frontier: “Scary Survival Videos.” At 14, I was old enough to know that hypothermia was a reality, and frostbite was serious business, where I could actually lose my fingers and toes. This time, I had no runaway friends to be my hypothermia partner so I could keep warm, and I was never going to do that “naked hugging sleeping bag survival skill” anyway; not unless I was left for dead on a mountaintop. I don’t remember if I prayed,  but I do know God was with me, protecting me and loving me.



I’d wandered for at least a couple hours, and I was far away from home. I knew I needed to get warm, or my body could be permanently damaged. I had on tennis shoes, instead of boots, and there was snow and ice on the ground. I didn’t much care about living right then, but always in my mind, was a loved one I had back at home, and being a teenager, I was also worried about my reputation, even among my friends. They would ask me why I ran away. I’d been trained not to tell family secrets. I’d been trained to pretend I came from a perfect “Christian” family. Who would believe me? It was too much anyway; a mountain of madness which no one would understand or believe or care about, and many don’t; even to this very day. Telling them would be impossible. Now I’ve gained enough wisdom to know that some things are only revealed by God in His perfect timing. 

That night I found myself at the chapel, and was mortified to find a friend of mine was there too. He sang with the adult choir, so he was often up at the church. I didn’t want him to see me, but it was too late. He was an intelligent, kind boy, and our mutual friends had mentioned he had a crush on me. Maybe he wouldn’t tell anyone. As far as I know, he never did. He asked me what I was doing there, and if I was ok. I shook my head, and took a deep breath, so I wouldn’t cry. He didn’t know how bad it was at home, but I think to this day, he knew about one of the secrets. His eyes said he knew. He wanted to ask more questions, but seemed to understand I couldn’t answer them. When I said I had to go, he put his hands on my shoulders and gently shook me. His dark eyes looked scared. He said the M.P.’s (military police) would come looking for me, and everyone would find out I had run away. He said I would freeze to death if I went back out in the cold. And finally, out of wanting to help, he convinced me to call home. 

When I made the call from the church, I did it on my terms. I’d learned a thing or two about manipulation and control tactics. I’d been taught well. My terms were that I’d tell where I was, but there would be no talking about it, and no punishment. If the terms were broken, I’d run away again, and I’d tell people why I was running. The terms were agreed upon, and the ride home was just as cold, if not more frozen, than the air outside. I was surviving. 

The next attempt at running away came out of a desperation that had turned to hopelessness, and the plan came down to no running away at all. I was found out before I even got a chance to get out of the house. I’d spent too long packing in the bathroom, and refused to open the door even when a hole was punched halfway through it. If there’d been a window, I would have exited. But with no escape in sight, I stuffed my school bag into the lower shelf of the bathroom closet, put some towels on top, and exited the bathroom. After hearing about how it was my fault that there was a hole punched in the door, I shrugged and announced that I was going to bed. I slid under the sheets in my clothes. I’d have to wait until about 1:30 or 2 a.m., because darkness in Alaska doesn’t come till then during its super short spring and summer months. 

My bag was packed with a few necessities, my tiny teddy bear, and about $100. The car keys were on my dresser, since I drove to school each day. The car wasn’t really mine, so I’d have to drive somewhere and leave it with a note, saying I was sorry and that it wasn’t stolen. I planned to drive from Eagle River to Anchorage, and then park and walk until I found a hotel. I KNEW there were some areas that were dangerous, like 4th Avenue, where everyone warned you never to go. But I was headed that way, because I thought it was the last place anyone would look. I never got there. I never got anywhere that night. 
The door to my bedroom flew open, and my escape bag was swinging back and forth before my eyes. I was shocked, and my heart sunk. I was completely deflated… hopeless. I must have raised suspicion by staying too long in the bathroom, packing up my things. My key set was whisked up from my dresser amidst angry shrieks. I’d be taking the bus next day to school, which I hated. I lay in bed that night with my tiny brown teddy bear, tears soaking his curly fur. I’d never get out. I don’t remember if I prayed, but I do know God was with me, protecting me and loving me.

Though I managed to move out of my house quickly, because I was snapped up for a teaching position immediately after graduation, I never really got away until my husband and I moved from the state of Texas, out to Virginia where we didn’t know a soul. It was especially hard to leave a loved one back home, and I missed my friends. But being on my own was the best thing that had ever happened to me. I began to write my prayers in a prayer journal, participated in a bible study, and pursued Jesus in peace. All my life, I’d been bashed over the head with a bible and forced to go to church, with scripture used out of context to guilt and shame me. I was a victim of spiritual abuse, and was running from God, because I thought He was always watching me from the sky, waiting to condemn me and punish me, and tell me what I was doing wrong. I was afraid of Him, and angry with Him too. I was now discovering the joy of having a relationship with Him! My eyes began to open up to the truth for the first time in my life, and God’s teachings showed me that everything I’d been taught was completely upside-down… and completely wrong. I do remember that I prayed! 

God moved me more times with my husband. Then God moved me more times with my children. Many things happened during those moves, and I’ve had many homes, but instead of running away, during each of my moves I have learned to draw closer to Jesus. When I start to run away, he doesn’t let me out of the door, without first insisting that he loves me and doesn’t want me to go. 

Whenever the pain becomes too hard to bear for those who have been running and running all their lives looking for a little bit of love, there lies ahead the silver lining: One ends up desperately running straight into the arms of Jesus! And in that most desperate time, the running away will stop, before you even realize it. Why? It’s because Jesus has been waiting here for you the whole time, with his arms outstretched, already wrapping themselves around you! I discovered that Jesus had been holding me in his arms the whole time, crying tears when I cried tears. He was waiting for me run in his direction and cry out his name, so he could save me. He is doing the same for you. Though I was already God’s child, I hadn’t understood the power and authority I have in Christ Jesus. I didn’t realize that I was loved by God, unconditionally, without condemnation or judgment. 

We don’t need to run away from Jesus, for he does not reject us! He loves us in spite of our imperfections, and in spite of our sins. We can run into his everlasting loving arms, and he will greet us with acceptance and unconditional love each and every time. If we forget how much he loves us, and start to run away, we can always turn back, repent, and ask him to forgive us. He will help us to battle the negative lies we have been falsely led to believe, and heal us of our guilt, fear, and anger; which will then banish depression; leading us to freedom and joy! We will discover that God is not far away up in the sky, but right inside of our hearts, and He’s been loving us our whole entire lives! For there really is “no place like home” when your eternal home is in Heaven with Jesus Christ. 

“The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:20).


My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2-3).

If you enjoyed this blog post and found it helpful, you may like PAST PATHS… AND OTHER THINGS TOO PAINFUL TO MENTION.

Write to the author, and find daily encouragement to give you hope, as you heal and find freedom and joy in Jesus Christ at The Silver Lining Facebook Page. 

Stumped by Forgiveness?

Forgiveness is a command given by God. Since Jesus forgave us, and died for our sins, we must forgive others. Though it’s true that forgiveness allows our offender to be released from guilt, sadness, and pain; forgiveness is necessary for us to be free from the roots of bitterness. If the roots of bitterness are not pulled up from the ground, the roots will grow deep and thick underground.

Like a stubborn old tree stump, we will remain, yet we will no longer bear fruit. Instead, the ugly ol’ stump will end up standing alone in the exact same place we wanted to plant a live, nourishing fruit tree. Removing bitterness allows for the removal of other strongholds such as: lies, fear, rejection, anger, selfishness, and more. It’s the doorway to healing and freedom!

Just think about it. If you’re mad at somebody right now, he or she may not even be aware of it. This person may be going about having a wonderful day, with no clue you’re sitting home seething about what that person did to offend you. Meanwhile you’re getting nothing accomplished except for building up a higher wall of resentment. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you’re okay with what that person did to you; it just means that you’re releasing that person to God.

Forgiveness brings us closer to God, because forgiving people helps us to become more like Jesus. It’s how God prepares and perfects us, in preparation for bringing us home to live with Him in Heaven. We need to forgive people in the name of Jesus. Why? Because we can’t do it all by ourselves. Also, the forgiveness which comes from God is supernatural; it can take our hearts places we never imagined…all for our own personal healing…and better yet, for the glory of God and the growth of His Kingdom!

Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to be friends with your offender. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to be a doormat for abuse. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to reconcile with someone who is unable to have a healthy, godly relationship with you. In fact, it may be that somebody actually needs to ask forgiveness of you. You can still forgive that person. Forgiveness just means letting go…and letting God.

Is there someone you have been struggling to forgive? Just pray: “I forgive ( name of offender) in Jesus’ name.” Then go about your day, and let Jesus work on your heart.

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”
Col. 3:13 New Living Translation

Mistakes or Miracles?  God Creates Goodness!

My daughter is a budding artist. She is perfectionistic in her work, so it’s difficult for her when she makes a mistake on her pictures. I wonder how she got that way? As she was making an adorable book about birds and worms, her creative happiness suddenly turned to sadness.

She no longer wanted to use one of the pages for her book, because she had made a mistake on her worm. She said it was too big. I told her it was okay, because worms come in different shapes and sizes. She agreed, but she became more upset, and said she didn’t want to use that particular picture. I said that was fine, but we would need to stop and talk, because she was really upset.

Her eyes filled with tears. Staring at the page, she said she was sad because the worm dies in her story. I told her that since she was the author of the book, she was the boss. I asked her why the worm had to die. Couldn’t something else happen to the worm? Could he escape? What if she wrote a silly story about the worm getting away when the bird was chasing it? The tears didn’t come. Instead, she immediately put her head down and began to draw. She was changing her story.

I told my daughter that God can always fix our mistakes. She was still looking at her drawings, so I asked her if she remembered what I said. She said she wasn’t sure, so I asked her to look into my eyes: “You will make mistakes,” I said. “Mommy will make mistakes. But God can fix our mistakes. God can make good things come out of our mistakes.” She nodded her headed.

“What good thing came out of your mistake today?” I asked her.

“A new story!” She was smiling.

“Yes,” I said, “And what else?”

“It’s okay to make mistakes,” she said.

“Yes! What else?”

“I don’t have to get upset!” I was happy she understood. I reminded her that she had also learned a new technique. I had taught her that if she liked part of a drawing she had created, she could take a blank piece of paper, trace over the part she likes, and leave out the rest. It wouldn’t be copying, because she’d be using her original art. I told not to get mad and scribble, because we could talk about her mistake and possibly turn it into something else. I reminded her that she had learned all these things today, simply because she thought she’d made a mistake. God can always fix it. God fixes everything!

My daughter is the author and illustrator of her book. She can change the direction of her story. God is the author and illustrator of our lives. He gives us free will, but He already knows how our story will end. He creates a silver lining in the midst of our dark storm and turns it into a sunny day. With Jesus, God takes our mistakes, and turns them into something beautiful; a new twist in the turning pages our living storybooks.

Later that night, I realized that through teaching my daughter, I had learned a lesson myself. Isn’t it amazing how God works? As a child, I lived in an environment where perfection was expected. It wasn’t safe to make mistakes without consequences. Because I didn’t feel safe to make mistakes, I’ve struggled with decision-making, and I’ve agonized over mistakes; both real and perceived. Sometimes I’ve procrastinated to the point of becoming completely frozen, unable to make a decision at all.

Throughout my life, I’ve been fearful of what lies ahead if I take the wrong fork in the road. But God is good! God has greatly healed me from the guilt, anxiety, and self-condemnation which accompanies mistakes. I’m grateful that God already knows about each and every decision I will make. God has shown me the truth, so I can share wisdom with my daughter, and my children can grow to be free in Christ.

Will you let God turn the pages of your book? Will you trust Him to take your mistake, and turn it into a great work of art? We don’t have to be afraid of our mistakes anymore. God loves us, so we don’t have to be fearful. He is on our side! “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 Jn. 4:18 New International Version). 

God gave us the best eraser ever; Jesus Christ, who erases our sins. When we accept Jesus, and repent, he forgives us of all of our sins! He also makes beauty from ashes, so with Jesus, we can’t go wrong! “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory” (Isa. 61:3 New Living Translation).

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb. 12:1-2 English Standard Version

Mama has a Sailor Mouth

“The Fourth Grade Cussing Club…” I don’t know how it really started, except that one day on the playground, I suddenly found myself a part of it…and you just had to say bad words to belong. Patti was the ringleader. I didn’t even like her; she was a self-proclaimed atheist. “I don’t believe in God,” she proudly said, with her nose in the air. But I did. I believed in God, and I believed in Jesus, and I loved them.

Somehow the ugly word came out of my mouth. I didn’t even know why. I wasn’t worried about fitting in. I had plenty of friends. Why was I even hanging around with her? But there we stood in a circle, taking turns saying words one finds painted onto cement overpasses and etched into the backs of dull gray metal bathroom doors.

A week later, I quit. I firmly took a stand. I told Patti I didn’t want to be in her stupid club, especially when the worst part of it all was that she didn’t believe in God. My nine-year-old self knew it was wrong; how she was trying to convince our joint friends about why God didn’t exist. I walked away, and the club immediately melted and dissolved into sheer nothingness.

But Patti wasn’t happy. I’d hit a nerve. At a sleepover, I awoke to her gossiping about me to two other girls. Pretending to be asleep, my ears burned, hoping that sweet Cathy wouldn’t turn against me. It was her house. Cathy didn’t talk about me, but she didn’t really stick up for me either. Patti was pretty intimidating. It felt strange and scary, lying there under the covers, not moving. I wanted to leave, but I didn’t know what to do.

Sadly, it was only a sneak peek of how people will mistreat you when you stand with your Savior. It was also a glimpse of how people are unwilling, or afraid, to stand up with you, or for you when you make a stand for what’s right and true. After all, Cathy was a believer too. Yet, how joyful it was, that I already knew Jesus at such a young age, and that he had given me the strength to break away from the sin and the peer pressure!

I didn’t cuss again until 8th grade. I’d moved all the way from Texas to Alaska, and was starting over…again. Swearing seemed the cool thing to do, but it wasn’t necessary; the kids liked me just as I was. I was a good girl, and a smart girl. Good grades came easily; excellent grades came with a little effort. But I began to let things slide, and then I’d brag about only getting a B or C, like the kids who announced they had failed a test, so I wouldn’t look “nerdy” for being intelligent. At home I wasn’t praised for being good or smart, so it just seemed right to swear with my friends who accepted and liked me.

I was fitting in well. Boys gave me their jackets to wear, and my girlfriends copied my purple eye shadow. My spot was reserved on the bus. No one “called me out” to fight me. My popularity grew and my bad mouth did too. Life away from home was good. But my spiritual life was not. I went to church youth group. I even brought my girlfriends with me. But I wasn’t getting the same teachings at home. I was on my own. The lies crept in, and little pieces of myself began to disappear, as sin took its place.

The cussing continued. I found dirty jokes to be funny, instead of being offended by them. It became normal to drop a curse word if I stubbed my toe. Enemies were called bad names. Sometimes friends were too…after all, we were “just joking.” In reality, I was never really comfortable with crude humor, and it began to disgust me as I got older.

However, the cussing remained throughout my high school, college, teacher and mommy years. I prayed for God to take it away. I could control it in public, but felt relaxed at home, where words would slip out in front of my family when I was angry, scared, frustrated, or surprised. My beautiful children learned the words. I tried to be careful, but apparently wasn’t careful enough. My lovely daughter, on occasion, has gently said with love, “Mommy, don’t say that.” Without judgment, she’s followed it with an affectionate pat on my back. They’ve all given me grace, this family whom I cherish, love, and adore. They understand that childhood trauma has contributed to my stronghold. So they pray for me, and I pray for them. We forgive each other, and we hold each other up when we fall.

There was a time when I would have said I’m ashamed to be a “sailor mama.” But shame comes from the devil, and I’m a child of God. I’m loved in spite of my sin. I’m washed clean in the blood of the lamb. It won’t be held against me, but I want to battle it, because it’s not of God.

While discussing a ministry opportunity with my wise pastor, he told me that uncontrollable cussing can have roots of unforgiveness. Though we were discussing how I could help someone else, it caused me to wonder how I could still struggle with cussing, especially if I’ve pursued Christ and forgiven, in Jesus’ name, the very people in my life who abused, neglected, lied about, and abandoned me. Though the necessary boundaries have been established, I continuously must forgive, and have done it over and over again, many times.

My pastor answered my question by adding that a cussing stronghold can also remain because of unresolved anger and pain; that there is more to it. This made more sense to me, especially because God helps me to control my mouth. After praying, and thinking about it some more, I told him I thought that rejection, abandonment, and abuse cause us to wrestle with fear, anger, and depression. The pain these spirits create, can cause a cussing stronghold. (A stronghold is a sin which has a strong, firm grip on you, and does not want to let go, even when you try to the right thing. Jesus is mighty to conquer strongholds.)

He told me I was on the right track, so when we spoke again, I told him I understood that all of these spiritual issues are intwined, causing great pain. Essentially, each needs to be dealt with, and forgiven, as it is revealed, so that we can be set free. When my pastor validated my thoughts, I was excited to realize God had been answering my questions and helping me to understand the entire relationship surrounding these spiritual issues. We have to seek Jesus for healing and for true freedom. Everything comes down to the forgiveness offered through Jesus Christ, for salvation can only come through God’s Son.

We need to ask God why we are struggling with a cussing stronghold. We may need to forgive someone in the name of Jesus. We may have already forgiven, but there might be unresolved pain from childhood, which we may not even be aware we are carrying. We may have an everyday situation we are dealing with at home or on the job in the workplace. Whichever it is, we are not meant to battle it alone. God promises to go before us.

I constantly battle pain from the past, but because of forgiveness with boundaries, and the healing that only comes from Jesus, that ball of pain is getting smaller and smaller. I can feel God shrinking it, so that it doesn’t affect me the way it once did when the lies come blasting my way. It doesn’t mean it’s resolved, but it does mean that God has me covered because He knows the truth, and I know it too: He loves me, and I am His!

Even though my stronghold is based in past pain, I have forgiven much, just as Jesus has forgiven me. So I had to be honest and ask myself, am I presently harboring any unforgiveness? Then…it dawned on me. The person I need to forgive the most lives in my own house: my husband, who’s a bit of a sailor himself. Who else would a sailor mama need to forgive on a daily basis? Her children? Maybe for some; definitely for some. But for me, it’s easy to forgive my children; they are young and so precious. It’s much more difficult to forgive my husband, young in his brokenness, yet also precious in God’s sight. And of course, I love him, and God loves him even more! Don’t we need to forgive our husbands and wives for the little things that build up day after day, while also forgiving each other for the bigger, and more painful things that people struggle with throughout their marriages. Yes, yes we do.

I know my husband constantly needs to forgive me too. His childhood was no picnic either. We both have baggage. But the silver lining is that my husband and I are works in progress. We are saved by grace. Both of us are children of God, washed white as snow in the blood of the lamb. As we grow in Christ and forgive each other more quickly, the anger will wash away, and the bad words will wash away too. As an added benefit, our children are sanctified, and will struggle less with the strongholds that we overcome together.

Do you have a sailor mouth? Take heart! Don’t let it define you. Pursue God, ask Him to heal you of your pain, so your anger will dissolve, just as the cussing club melted away back in the fourth grade. Forgive your enemies, and especially forgive your loves ones in the name of Jesus. In doing do, don’t forget to forgive yourself. “What can take away your sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus” (author of hymn: Robert Lowry).

“Nor should there by obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” 

Eph. 5:4 

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Eph. 4:32

New International Version

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, 

Please take away my pain, and in its place, fill me with your Holy Spirit and the peace which comes from your healing. Help me to forgive others in your name, just as you have forgiven me for all of my sins. Thank you for loving me, and for taking my place on the cross, so I can live in Heaven with you forever! 

I love you!

 

Gossip, Lies, and Slander? No worries! God has Your Back!

by Angela Royse Pelleman

The bible tells us we shouldn’t be concerned when others gossip about us.  When others slander us behind our backs, telling lies, it’s so good to know that God has our back!  We can trust in Him completely, because He is Truth, and it will eventually come out.  Those who belong to the Lord don’t have to be discouraged, because when people slander you for walking in truth, you will be set free.  The bible says you will be blessed for it.  “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you”  (Matthew 5:10-12 New American Standard).

One day, I sat down specifically looking for bible verses that prove God protects us from slanderous lies.  Immediately, I discovered an email from a spiritual sister who does prayer drawings each day.  She draws, while praying, and then writes her devotion based on the image God has provided.  I opened my email that day to find the perfect verse sitting in front of me:  “All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish.  Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them.  Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all.  For I am the Lord, you God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you’ ” (Isaiah 41: 11-13 New International Version).

My spiritual sister had been given a drawing of a jester; her devotion was about fools, and how we are not to contend with them.  God has a sense of humor, and confirmed His message, when a co-worker showed up at her door in a silly jester hat she had just made.  Bells and all, she modeled it from the doorway, as my spiritual sister finalized her devotion!  My sister had even prayed her message would reach “someone specific” that day, and that it would be verified.  I was that “someone specific”.  The devotion’s message contained a warning; contending with foolish people robs us of our peace.  God wants us to have peace.  I’m so excited about the freedom that this brings!  This knowledge takes all kinds of stress off my plate!  It means I don’t have to do anything at all, except to trust in my Father God to take care of it for me.

If you are anything like me, your first reaction to gossip, lies, and slander, is to defend yourself.  I used to jump to this immediately.  “Lie about me?  I’m going to set you straight!  I’m going to email you right back and tell you like it really is.  Then, I’m going to call all my friends and family members and tell them what you just did to me, and make sure they know the truth!  How could you do this?  It needs to be fixed…right now!”  No, it doesn’t.  Yes, your name is out there.  Yes they are talking about you.  Lies are told, and your name is being slandered.  The bible itself says, “A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends”  (Proverbs 16:28).

Perhaps God is allowing this trial, because someone along the way needs to learn a simple lesson: If someone is gossiping to you, then they are gossiping about you.  Everyone gets hurt at some point, and we are all blind until God opens our eyes.  Perhaps healing is needed in someone else’s life, and God has given you the strength to handle it.   Perhaps you need growth in this area yourself.  Sometimes a few hearts get broken along the way. God offers a wealth of advice and warnings throughout the book of Proverbs, in order to help us avoid getting involved in some of these situations.  When things are not our fault, we can take comfort in the fact that God will take care of it at just the right time.

You can get all worked up about it, and lose sleep over losing friends, or you can turn it all over to the Lord, and let Him take care of it all in His perfect timing.  It may be that He’s filtering out “friends” who do not know how valuable you are to God, or “friends” that are unhealthy for you.  Perhaps some of these people are not your “friends” at all.  God may be doing His work through some of these people and you, to accomplish a higher purpose for His glory.  He will not leave you behind while doing this.  He will lavish you with blessings.

Jesus was insulted, spat upon, beaten, and ultimately killed.  He did not deserve it, but he accepted God’s will, because he knew it would give us a chance to be saved.  He loved us that much.  Can we do the same? Even though people sinned and treated him terribly, he overlooked his mistreatment, and still loved, healed and prayed for all sinners.  That means you and me.  “And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ And they cast lots to divide his garments” (Luke 23:34 English Standard Version).

When you are slandered, follow God.  God gives boundaries.  Boundaries protect our well -being.  We should pray for people who hurt us, and love them in a Christ-like manner, but we do not have to accept or tolerate behavior that is bad or abusive. “Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul” (Proverbs 22:24-25 New Living Translation).  People who lie and gossip are angry.  Get away from them, before you become trapped in their webs.  “But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard, or swindler.  Do not even eat with such people” (1 Corinthians 5:11). It’s clear that it is acceptable not to communicate with people who slander you.  This is not unforgiveness. In fact, it is obedience to God, and He will protect you and bless you for it.

Jesus also used silence as a boundary.  He knew that his Father, God, would take care of him:  “Then Pilate asked him, ‘Aren’t you going to answer?  See how many things they are accusing you of.’  But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed” (Mark 15: 4-5 NIV).  You are not obligated to answer questions involving slander.  It gives you more free time, and it is liberating for your spirit when you realize you don’t have to do anything at all, except leave it to God!   The bible says so!  “The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent” (Exodus 14:14 ESV).  I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a pretty good deal to me!  “You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son.  These things you have done, and I have been silent; you thought that I was one like yourself.  But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you” (Psalms 50: 20-21 ESV).  Jesus knows all about it.  That’s because he went through it too.

God gives many opportunities for people to ask forgiveness for sin and to truly repent.  “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person is powerful ad effective” (James 5:16 NIV).  The bible gives clear instructions on how the church is to deal with unrepentant hearts.  The book of Matthew, chapter 18, clearly outlines what should be done.  Until then, boundaries must remain in place.

When there is true repentance for slander, lies, and gossip, there comes a change within a person, a desire to be more like Jesus.  It is possible for a person to change, and turn her life around.  Until God shows you without a doubt, that a person has repented of slanderous behavior and is now living life with a true, Godly change of heart, as difficult as it may be, do not remove the boundary.  “Do not move the ancient boundary which your fathers have set” (Proverbs 22:28 NAS).  Take comfort in the fact that God is the ultimate boundary, and He’s in charge.  All we have to do is follow Him.

A 33-year-old drawing created by Angela when she was in sixth grade. The blonde girl in the foreground is observing three girls in the background. Sadly, two girls are gossiping about the third girl behind her back.

© 2014 Angela Royse Pelleman – The Silver Lining