I was pulled aside by the staff leader of the camp I was working at one summer. I was expecting a pat on the back by was shocked by angry and cutting words I didn’t deserve. It was confusing and painful, because I looked up to him.
He spoke for about five minutes or so, but I thought about those words just about every day for the next several years.
I was stuck in a thought loop. My hurt feelings kept bringing those hurtful words back to mind. And the memory of those hurtful words kept me in a place of feeling hurt.
I hated it, but I was stuck. And for about three years, I let five minutes of words shape me. It’s amazing the impact I let those five minutes have over three years. The bitter thoughts I had over those years dwarfed the few minutes he had spoken his misplaced words to me.
I know I’m not alone in this, am I? I’m guessing you’re aware of some hurtful words that were spoken to you that continue to slice you up inside.
I know people who have been wounded years ago by painful words and who wound themselves over and over again by keeping those old words fresh by repeating them.
It’s like a bad song stuck in our heads that we just can’t seem to shake. But just like those bad songs, the way is a way to replace them: better songs, better words.
This is one place where the Scriptures come to our aid.
The Scriptures are old words that are meant to get stuck in our heads, that are meant to loop around inside of us, dominating the way we think about ourselves, God, others, and the world around us.
Instead of the painful words we’ve picked up along the way, the Scriptures offer wholesome and healing words to define who we are: holy, loved, child of God, good and faithful servant, friend, brother/sister, heir, chosen, forgiven, cleaned, baptized, united, saint, member, paid for, delight, died for, remembered, bride …
We have our choice of which old words are going to get stuck within us and define us and our relationships.
Is time to get a better song stuck in our heads.
The psalmists put it this way:
I will meditate on your precepts and regard your ways. I shall delight in your statutes; I shall not forget your word. (Psalm 119:15-16)
The LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime; and his song will be with me in the night, a prayer to the God of my life. (Psalm 42:8)
I will bless the LORD who has counseled me; indeed, my mind instructs me in the night. (Psalm 16:7)