Monday, January 19, 2009

Job's Comforters

My daddy told me that words are like seeds.
The good ones grow flowers; the bad ones grow weeds.
To open my mouth and say something unkind
Is like planting a seed in somebody's mind.
I'd rather grow flowers; they're pretty and sweet.
Planting the good stuff, that's really neat!
(Author Unknown)

So goes the poem my eldest daughter learned in K4. There are many adults who could stand to learn that poem, and unfortunately, we parents of kids with special needs have far too many encounters with them!

I wish I had $1 for every mother who has told me that people insult their parenting skills when they are in public with their autistic child. I myself have received unsavory glares and unkind comments when they see my child wearing large welts or angry bruises. People often accuse parents such as us of making a big deal out of nothing. That makes the pain of our challenges weigh on us even heavier. We are not unlike Job in Chapter 19, verse 2 saying, "How long will you torment me and crush me with words?"

Still, God sees our frustrations and cares deeply about our hurts. Although Proverbs 12:18 confirms, "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing," God also promises that He catches our tears in His bottle (Psalm 56:8). The Lord knows our hearts and the added pain of ignorant words that we endure more frequently than the average person.

Perhaps, since our Father is so in tune with our sorrow, we would do well to listen to His advice! Job 12:11 says, "Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food?" I have a cherished former colleague who used to say that people "don't know what they don't know". If our ears can test the words coming at us as the tonge tastes food, and realize that the people saying such painful things "don't know what they don't know", we may find that it adds to our strength. True, some days we will be better at this than others. But Christ calls us to offer the same mercy to others that we ourselves would ask of them.

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