"And (Hannah's) rival provoked her greatly to vex her, because the Lord had left her childless."
I Samuel 1: 6, Amplified Bible
"Contention In The House" Part III
"Blowing out another woman's candle doesn't make yours glow any brighter."
In what way have cruel words wounded me?
Is there someone I need to go to and apologize for the way my words may have "grieved" or "vexed" them?
"I would rather play with the forked lightning, or take in my hands living wires with their fiery current, than speak a reckless word against (another)."
A. B. Simpson
"Heaviness in the heart of a (woman) maketh her stoop; but a good word maketh (her) glad."
Proverbs 12: 25, K.J.V.
Yesterday I was on a live radio interview in New Smyrna Beach, Florida with Carol Henry on WKTO. I had such an enjoyable time with this terrific host and I found a question she asked to be one of the best anyone has posed to me. Here is what she said, "How can we, as women, encourage and lift the burdens of each other in practical ways?" I really liked this question because so often, we talk about doing things, but in the hustle of daily living, we let those little kindnesses slide. We're just too busy. As I reflected on this excellent question, two things hit me that I know I don't do often enough and they happen to fit in perfectly with our text for today and with the words penned by Solomon in the book of Proverbs: "Heaviness in the heart of a (woman) maketh her stoop; but a good word maketh (her) glad" (Proverbs 12: 25). First, we can compliment each other, as women, more frequently. And second, we can speak kindly to and about each other.
Take a moment to ponder how you would have felt living under the same roof with another woman who constantly reminded you of your deficiencies. A person who chided you because of what you lacked. A woman who threw it in your face that you were barren and she wasn't. How would you feel? The Bible states very clearly that the cruel words of Peninnah, hurled at Hannah, caused grief. The King James Version distinctly lays the situation out by saying Peninnah's vicious mouth, "provoked Hannah sore," or as this reads in the Hebrew: "troubled her to vexation." The word "vexation" is one of those old Latin words which isn't commonly used today but we find it doesn't just mean to hurt someone in a casual way, it means something much harsher. The person who is being vexed is pushed into a state where they experience "physical discomfort." If we remember the words of Elkanah to Hannah yesterday, we find that the tormenting, cruelty of Peninnah left Hannah, not only in tears, but also in a situation where she was starving herself for Elkanah asked Hannah, "Why eatest thou not?" (I Samuel 1: 7, 8).
Never ever, should we under estimate the power of our words. I watched in my own high school as certain so-called "popular" girls mocked those whom they felt were lacking to the point that severe physical symptoms developed in those being tormented. And psychologists underscore that diseases like bulimia and anorexia in women quite often have their root in the unending torment suffered at the hands of others.
As women, we absolutely must not take out the personal pain of unfulfilled relationships with men, on the women in our lives. Hannah wasn't Peninnah's problem. Elkanah had chosen to marry more than one woman. What's more, Peninnah had gone along and married someone who already had a wife. What did she expect? She shouldn't have thought her life would be a bed of roses, and when it wasn't, rather than recognizing she was at fault too, she decided to make life as miserable as possible for Hannah.
Several months ago, I purchased the book entitled, Resilience, by Elizabeth Edwards, whose politician husband had an affair with a single woman. There is something in this painful story we as women need to learn from. To paraphrase what Elizabeth Edwards said, she observed that having a good marriage and building a strong family takes a lot of hard work. And if, as a woman, I want to have a good home and family, then I should work to lay the foundation for such a situation. Every single day, I should work to make this foundation stronger. Then Mrs. Edwards said that what we as women shouldn't ever do to each other, is to look at what someone else has and go and try to take it away and make it ours. We ought to respect each other as women rather than try to steal from each other what we hold precious.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, John Tillotson, penned these words, "There is no readier way for a (woman) to bring her own worth into question, than by endeavoring to detract from the worth of other (women)."
Several months ago, we studied the life of Samson and I thought that author Morris Gilber really got it right when he said, "The jawbone of an ass was a killer in Samson's time…and it still is." How true this proved to be in Elkanah's home where cruel and vexing words brought not only pain of heart, but of body as well.
Let us learn from the wise words of Simone Weil, "A hurtful act is the transference to others of the degradation which we bear in ourselves." May our prayer be that of the Psalmist David, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight" (Psalm 19: 14, N.I.V.).
"Unkindness almost always stands for the displeasure that one has in oneself."
"Some people want to eat their words.
Me, I'd rather regurgitate mine.
Throw them up. Flush them down the toilet.
In the words of the song, "I'm so sick of words."
"…just let me say this…"
"…if I could get a word in edgeways…"
"...you never listen to a word I say…"
"…though I speak with the tongue of men and angels…"
But without words
there are no stories.
Even the artist in the cave
had a word
to distinguish "horse" from "bull"
and so translate the images distinctly.
Perhaps the key is in the way you use them.
Is it kind?
Is it necessary?
Is it true?
To answer these questions requires the use of many more words
‘In the beginning was the Word. And the Word became flesh…'"
Love Burning Deep
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $10.00.
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