Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

Sharon Jaynes Living Free, Living Fully, Power of Words 216 Comments

Most of the time we Christians talk about not being afraid of this or that. After all, the Bible says various versions of “fear not” over 300 times. But today, I want to talk about something we should be afraid of. Let me start by telling you a story about when my Golden Retriever dug up a tree.

Shortly after we had planted a maple tree in our backyard, we went on vacation. It was the first time we had left Ginger, our Golden Retriever, home alone in our fenced in yard. A neighbor fed and watched out for her while we were away. On the second day of our trip, I called Cathy to see how Ginger was doing.

“Well, Ginger’s fine,” Cathy reported. “But you know that tree you planted last week? She dug it up!”

“She did what!” I exclaimed.

“She dug it up. The tree’s lying in the yard.”

When we got home, we walked over to the toppled tree. Ginger tucked her tail and slunk into the garage like the bad dog she was.

When we planted the tree, we left a small piece of the burlap around the root ball exposed. Ginger spied that remnant peeking out of the ground and wanted it…bad. Several times we had caught her pawing at the burlap and reprimanded her with a stern “no!”

She ducked her head, crept away and waited for a more opportune time. I imagine that the moment she saw us load suitcases in the car and pull out of the driveway, she tiptoed over to the forbidden tree and began to dig. (Can dogs tiptoe? I think they can.) She must have dug and dug for hours with all her puppy might—flinging dirt in every direction. Finally, the dirt slinger accomplished her mission. The tree was toppled, and the burlap exposed.

In the Bible, Moses’ sister, Miriam, was a dirt slinger. Even though Moses had many wonderful qualities, not to mention being chosen by God to lead His people, Miriam thought otherwise. She didn’t like his wife, his leadership style, or the fact that God called him and not her.

So, she slung dirt. The Bible tells us, “Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?’ they asked. ‘Hasn’t he also spoken through us?’ And the Lord heard this” (Numbers 12:1-2).

I don’t know about you, but that sentence, “And the LORD heard this,” gives me the shivers. Then God said, “Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” The anger of the Lord burned against them, and he left them.” (Numbers 12:8-9)

Miriam’s punishment for dirt slinging was leprosy. Amazingly, Moses prayed for his sister, and the disease disappeared in seven days.

Now, let’s go back to God’s question, “Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” And then I hear God saying the same to me: Why are you not afraid to speak against my servant _______?

When I feel the urge to sling a little dirt about someone, especially a brother or sister in Christ, I need to remember those words and have a holy fear about speaking against any of God’s servants…and that includes all believers. Instead of being a dirt slinger, I need to be a comfort bringer.

Let’s go back to the toppled tree. Steve and I gently removed what was left of the burlap sack around the root system, carefully sat the maple back up into the prepared soil, and lovingly patted the dirt back around the parched roots. Then, because of its weakened state, we braced it up with ropes tied to three stakes in the ground. I watered the weary maple daily, not knowing if it would recover from the trauma. In the end, the tree not only survived, it thrived.

When we see a friend who has been wounded by words slung like dirt, we can slowly stand her back up, lovingly reestablish her roots in the good soil of God’s Word, gently brace her up with kindness, and water her daily with prayer. Who knows? You may even help her not only survive, but also thrive.

Thankfully, Ginger left the tree alone after that. After all—she never cared about the tree in the first place.

Lord, I want to be a comfort bringer not a dirt slinger. Give me a holy fear about speaking against Your servants, and put a guard over the door of my lips. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Will you join me in committing not to talk against God’s servants? Which is really just a nice way of saying…I will not sling dirt. If so, leave a comments a say, “I’m in!”

For more on how to use our words to speak life, see my best-selling book, The Power of a Woman’s Words: How the Words You Speak Shape the Lives of Others and The Power of a Woman’s Words Bible study guide. This new edition includes a chapter on the power of a woman’s words to her adult children…it’s complicated!

Congratulations to Alisa Sisk for winning a copy of The Power of a Woman’s Words for herself and one for her friend from last week’s random drawing from the blog post comments~

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Comments 216

  1. Thank you for this wonderful reminder that God is always listening. I want to be a comfort bringer and not a dirt slinger.
    Thank you for reminding me that we must lift each other up. We truly never know what another person is going through therefore we must always be mindful of our words. 💗

  2. It’s most difficult to not speak ill of a young woman 34 yrs younger than me. She was my husbands office mgr. I treated her like my daughter since her mother wasn’t part of hr life. Giving her surprise gifts a lot. Taking her for Broadway shows and gift cards. She paid me back by having a five year affair with my husband with no remorse. How do I forgive and forget that? I find myself speaking terrible things abt her. They’re true in my opinion given my experience with her. Please pray for me to have a more tender heart. Thank you.

    1. My husband did not have an affair outright but I know that he became emotionally attached to a woman he worked with (she was also a friend of mine)…he divorced me and married her and they have now been married for almost 17 years. I have dealt with many of those same feelings you have and it is terribly difficult to not lash out. It seems like God is asking too much of us to forgive in a situation like yours but that is indeed what He wants. I will lift you up in prayer to have a tenderness in your heart and for you to forgive all involved. You may have to do it minute by minute but Jesus will help you. In the long run the unforgiveness only hurts you, not the other person(s). Praying for you now!!

    2. Susan— feeling for you 😔
      Betrayal is so devastating.💔
      Check out Forgiving what you cant forget by Lysa T.
      Worth the time.

    3. Praying for you to have the heart to forgive. We become bitter when we don’t forgive. Let go and let God heal your heart.

  3. I’m in! I was deeply moved by this devotional. God seems to send a message that we need to hear at exactly the time that we need to hear it. I will most certainly be sharing this with others.

  4. A very thought provoking read, especially at this time in our decisive societies.

    I have read your book, but would love the chapter on speaking to/with your adult children.

    Sharon, thank you for your thought provoking words.

    Caro from Canada

  5. I am in. lord Jesus please help me to be a woman who words build up n not a woman who uses her words to break down. Amen

  6. Boy do I need this book. Just came out of 18 years of denominational employment and I’m estranged from both adult daughters.

  7. I enjoyed reading 📚 your devotions. They’re so encouraging. Thanks for your insight that you give to God ‘s words.

  8. I’m in. I wish I had been able to be raised by my grandparents. They were Christians and taught me to be a Christian. My stepmother used every negative sentence she knew while raising me. Dad worked to keep a roof over my head. I don’t understand why she hated me so. It hurt back thenand still hurts today. I don’t like people when they “sling mud” about others. Lost my real Mother to cancer when I was an infant. God bless you.
    .

    1. Dottie, Your story touched my heart. You were so blessed to have had godly grandparents. I’m sure they prayed for you a lot. Those prayers helped to protect you. Jesus, go into the recesses of Dottie’s soul and heal her totally and completely of all the hurt she had to endure. The Lord said He would restore seven times over what the moth has eaten! Also, Psalms 23:3- It says He restores my soul! Isn’t that wonderful!

    2. Dottie,
      Sending a prayer up to our Abba Father for healing of your wounded heart.
      Amen! Agreeing with Stacy, may the Lord make it up to you:
      Psalms 27:10 “Though my father and mother have forsaken me (though in your case they had no choice)…the Lord will take me up and adopt me as his child (Amplified version)

  9. I’m in. I know what it’s like being on the other side of mud slinging. Don’t want to do that to others.

  10. Help me Lord not to be a dirt slinger!! Keep my thoughts from coming out my mouth! And help me only to think good things about others. There is always some good that I can think and say about a person!

  11. I’m in. Just got a message from a widowed pasties wife in our church that doesn’t want to speak at our WM’s meeting because of people slinging dirt. She’s a precious saint if God so we are presently dealing with this. Help us all fight this battle together. Thank you Sharon fir your commitment to speak the truth.

  12. I’m in! Dear Heavenly, please help my focus to be on you and loving others as you love us. Help me to have a mouth that only speaks good of others. Help me to not join in “slinging mud” with others around me. Help me to walk away before I say something I regret.

  13. I’m in! Dear Heavenly Father, please help my focus to be on you and loving others as you love us. Help me to have a mouth that only speaks good of others. Help me to not join in “slinging mud” with others around me. Help me to walk away before I say something I regret.

  14. I’m in! Been praying a lot about this lately and asking God to put a guard over my mouth and keep watch over the door of my lips (Psalm 141:3). In today’s world it’s so easy to get caught up in the finger pointing and criticism. Lord help my words to be soft and comforting

  15. I am going to get your book!! I use to be a school bus driver. Sometimes it took all year saying good morning and smiling at them to get a response!!

  16. I’m in.
    Sometimes we dont relize the impact we have on others through our mouths.
    Asking for forgiveness and moving on not to be a mud slinger and be a soul bringer.

  17. I’m all in. Thank you for this gentle reminder. May I also be a woman that builds up another and not tear them down, Like the scripture says,may our words be seasoned with grace.

  18. God woke me up last night, twice, and all I heard was James 5:19. I believe He not only wants me in, He is asking that I take it a step further and not only stop slinging dirt, but prop up that “tree” and tenderly care for it. Thank you for being right on time with this message

  19. I’m in. Pray for me. I have a friend that has extended family issues. It’s so hard to not chime in in agreement with her. I am the only person she has to talk to about the issues. I want to be here for her but I want to be like God wants me to be. Thank you.

  20. I’m in! Thank you for asking us to make this commitment in a visible way…and may each of us make Holy Spirit our accountability! Lord, help each of us to forgive as You forgive, and teach us to remember how You see the person we want to talk about. Amen!

  21. I’m in as well!
    Thank you Sharon! The Lord has truly gifted you with the ability to take your everyday life experiences and turn them into a biblical truth that He wants His beloved daughters to hear! Your devotionals and books have been such a blessing to me as I have walked through a very challenging season for about 10 years now. Praying for my wilderness experience to end soon but so thankful for the help you have provided along the way. 😊❤

  22. Thank you for this good, God-breathed word. I’m grateful, too, for the Holy Spirit who often checks my heart when I begin to entertain in my mind a judgment or wanting to say something about how I may not like how one of God’s servants is doing something – be it song worship or praying in a way that I feel I could do better. Oh my goodness! What am I thinking!!
    His grace IS mighty! I don’t deserve it but I am so grateful that He, like you pointed out, does not give up on me. Help me Lord to be compassionate like you have been to me.

  23. Yes! I’m in. This also spoke to me regarding speaking to my husband about issues. I want to be compassionate the way our Father has been with us.

  24. I’m in! Thank you for posing a challenge that is so important in our daily walk. Love one another as He loves us!

  25. I AM IN !! Thank you Sharon! This post made me sit straight up in my chair while reading it! We all need nudges from time to time!

  26. Thank you Sharon for your reflections today.

    Dear GOD, please be the gatekeeper not only of my life but also of my lips. Guard my lips O LORD in JESUS’ most precious name amen.

  27. I’m all in! In fact God has been dealing with me in this area of my life. Dirt slinging is never justifiable even when it is thrown at you first. I’m learning to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. In Jesus Name…

  28. I’m IN!!! Lord I’m repenting with my whole heart! I felt a conviction deep in my soul because a dirt slinger is simply not who I am but it is something I have done when I feel offended. Father God grant me a portion of your grace and guard my tongue. In Jesus Name! Amen

  29. I’m in!
    I always do my best to try & only say about someone else what I would say if they were standing right beside me.
    (Not perfect but covered by grace💜)

  30. “Why do you notice the little piece of dust in your friend’s eye, but you don’t notice the big piece of wood in your own eye?” (Mat 7:3).

    We have eagle-eyed vision when it comes to others but can be blind as moles when we examine ourselves. So, if we want to change the world, let us begin with ourselves.

  31. Kathryn from Ontario, Canada

    This is a wonderful reminder and always “His timing”. God be in my head and in my understanding. God be in my eyes and in my looking, God be in my hears and in my hearing, God be in my heart and in my caring. Thank you for your heart!

  32. I am in! Lord, please do not allow me to forget my promise to be ‘in’. I am judgmental and I hate it. Not with everyone, just a few and sometimes I ‘complain’ about them and I declare right now in front of all these beautiful people that it stops now. Pierce my heart with love and affection for those whom I tend to find fault for hurting me.

    I love how so many offer support to others on this site. Betrayal is so difficult and I too have been there. Prayers for those of you who are struggling. We are with you in prayer!
    Viv

  33. I am in !

    Thank you for your message!
    You are such a blessing, to read your life giving words each day.
    God is using you in a down to earth way everyday! Regardless, where you are in your walk, you bless a lot of us women.

    Blessings and Favor

  34. I’m in!!! Help me Father to speak life into others, To refresh and encourage. Guard my lips, the doorway to my heart and convict me when I need to repent.

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