Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18
There is pain and then there is pain. We know that some people can be a pain in the neck…or worse. We also know about different levels of pain. There is the pain a woman must bear to bring a new life into the world. There is the pain that a person endures when they have a kidney stone. There is the pain of being hit by a semi-truck going sixty-five miles an hour. And then there is the pain I experienced the other night.
My wife Judy and I go to bed at different times, but we are usually within a few minutes of each other. So, it is not uncommon for one or the other to walk into a dark room. It’s not a big deal, really, because we have a light in the hallway that casts a little light into the dark room. And perhaps that is the reason we do it. “It” is we put a small pillow or some other something in the doorway to keep the door from closing all the way. It is more a habit than anything though in the summer it ensures good air circulation. And that night, it was a setup for a painful good night.
Judy was in bed and the room was dark. Uncharacteristically, the door was closed all the way so when I entered the room I couldn’t see very well. I knew she was still awake, so I asked her, “Where’s the pillow?” It was understood I wasn’t talking about the one for our heads but the one for the door. I believe she responded, “I don’t know.” Well, I looked in the dimly lit one side of the room and could see it wasn’t there. So, I began to walk over to the dark side of room and that, dear friends, is when it happened.
As I walked over, in the dark, to look for the pillow that should have been in the doorway, I hit…no, I sledgehammered, my shin and foot into the end of the bed frame. Let me explain. Our bed frame is designed so you can attach a footboard if you want to. Well, a long time ago we wanted to and then one day we removed it because we didn’t want to. That left the bracket just sitting there waiting to cause pain. Part of the bracket got my foot and part of it got my shin. And when flesh collided with iron…it hurt, and it hurt bad.
I’ve never had a baby, but I have had several kidney stones. I’ve never been slammed by a semi-truck going sixty-five, but I am almost certain that none of that hurt as bad as my shin and foot did. I hollered…maybe even screamed! I hollered, well, I’ve already said that, and then I blamed…not me, not the iron frame but poor Judy. My pain filled logic was it had to be her fault because she didn’t put the pillow in the door. Well, I did find the stinking pillow and I did put it in the stinking door. And I did one more thing.
As my shin and foot throbbed, as Judy apologized for what clearly wasn’t her fault and as she prayed for God to take the pain away…I realized I needed to apologize…and I did. It was all fine in a few minutes as we drifted off to sleep…gratefully not mad. Well, the next morning I looked at the wounds again and there was two gashes and one bruise. Ouch. Did I mention a semi-truck doing sixty-five miles an hour or having a baby? Judy stuck her head in the room a little later and I showed her the bruise and apologized one more time for good measure…and I meant it.
This unfortunate encounter caused me to realize that we must be careful about pain. You see, whether it is emotional or physical, when we are filled with pain we can say or do things we later regret. Someone said that hurt people hurt people. I know that is mostly speaking of emotional pain and scars, but it is also true when our foot and shin are sledgehammered into the bed frame. In addition to fixing or removing the problem, we need to plan, to practice how we are going to respond when pain walks into the room—or we walk into pain. We need to plan, or practice hitting the pause button or yanking on the emergency brake of our words. If we do maybe, we will stop before we let our hurt—hurt others.
Solomon, one of the wisest men to ever live, wrote in Proverbs, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Those are certainly wise words from a very wise man, but it is encouraging to know that even he didn’t always get it right. And guess what? Despite our best efforts, we won’t either. But the good news is that when we don’t there is a graceful God who’s just waiting to forgive us and help us. So, the next time you run into pain, hang on–He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne