James 3:10 says, “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.”
What does this mean?
It means that people who love us have the power to hurt us and that sort of ‘thing’ shouldn’t happen.
What made me think of this verse?
I was in a 3 month Bible study where we basically used scripture as a guide for communication…the major lessons being that our words should encourage love and learning and faith.
It was, on some levels, a bunch of ‘duh.’
Nothing overwhelmingly new to me.
But, it was somewhat cathartic to see how closely the Bible reflected the theories of communication I teach in my college classroom.
It all tied it all together somehow.
But, back to James….
Anyway, I had that scripture highlighted. And I used it as a reminder that I need to use kind words stemming from a loving heart when I spoke to the people I loved most.
It’s made a difference.
But, today, I realized that often times, I am the victim of abusive words and I let the power of the words used against become something that is my fault…relieving the speaker of the burden of the words.
At my gym, there is an older gentleman who has taken some assertive steps that have made me incredibly uncomfortable.
Comments about my clothing choices and physical capabilities…and when he talks to me, he stares at my chest….as if my tits talked.
But, his words are always said in ways that make me overwhelmingly uncomfortable.
And as I sat and told my boyfriend about it today, he told me, “Well…speak up. If you don’t say something, I’m going to. But, I want you to be in charge of this. I don’t want you to take that power away from yourself. I’ll step in if you want me to…but, I think that this is something YOU need to do.”
And I told him, “I can’t. I’ve given the nonverbal cues that are hard to miss that say, ‘LEAVE ME ALONE.’ – but he doesn’t. And I can’t say, ‘hey…so, you make me uncomfortable…you’re crossing the line. It isn’t appropriate'” because he’ll either flip it so it’s MY interpretation of his intentions that is wrong OR because it will come across as me being disrespectful. I can’t do that. He should should see he is inappropriate and respect that.”
And my lovely boy said, ” Well…clearly he doesn’t respect you or we wouldn’t be having this conversation. He’s using his power of age and position against you. You’re a pleaser. He knows that . He knows you’ll politely listen and he’s probably hoping eventually you’ll just accept it. He isn’t going to stop unless you put a stop to it. Or I do.”
And here is where James comes in. It finally hit me. I try so hard NOT to make waves in so many different context because I think that people are going to respect me enough to speak to me in a way that reflects my respect for them. I let them get by and bear the burden of their words and intentions until they eat away at me.
And they win.
It’s really this same cycle of abuse…whether intentional or not.
And I let it happen because I don’t think my words, or feelings, are worth asserting.
Even when someone is making overly inappropriate comments.
I know I should speak up.
And I don’t.
This afternoon, someone told me, “I will do whatever I need to…take whatever steps I have to what I want in my life. Just be prepared for that. It will happen.”
And these words tumbled out of the mouth of someone I know no longer loves me, and quite frankly, probably hasn’t even respected me for at least a decade, let alone love me.
And it hit me.
That was a direct threat.
And I swallowed it.
And didn’t realize it was this same cycle of abuse and assertion of power I have always just swallowed and carried as MY burden…created my MY actions.
People could talk to me like that because I deserved it.
I deserved to be threatened.
Today I realized I don’t deserve that.
I’ve always advocated for others.
Never realized how far I fell into that pit.
Today it was clear.
Twice in a day, someone pushed their needs in my face.
And I bowed my head and consented.
Dysfunction at its greatest and deepest.
I think that acceptance of someone else having greater value than myself is my crack.
I’m not saying I’m not a stronger, smarter, BETTER woman than I was last year and the year before that.
But, today was an eye opening day.
Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be
The mouth that I once saw as a blessing is my curse.
And that ought not to be so.
But, I let it be.
Because, still…after hours of analysis and understanding the deep impact of emotional abuse and straight forward bullying, I let it be.
With people who front to be loyal…yet have intentions that are less than pure….
I let them.
And they will continue until I speak up.
“But, I want you to be in charge of this. I don’t want you to take that power away from yourself. I’ll step in if you want me to…but, I think that this is something YOU need to do.”
It is something I need to do.
It is something I need to trust myself to do.
Giving away my value is giving away my power to someone else.
It’s my spiral.
A cycle I have to end.
And perhaps I can take comfort in knowing, “The Lord will also be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble,” (Psalms 9:9) and that “The Lord executeth righteousness and judgement for all that are oppressed.” (Psalms 103:6).
I have support here on Earth with my beautiful friends and amazingly supportive family.
And support in the SuperNatural…because I’m learning He makes all that seems impossible, possible.
And a backbone.