The Word I Didn’t Mean

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It’s no wonder it wasn’t the fist or massive muscular blows that James said was the most damaging and uncontrollable thing about us. It’s the tongue (James 3). Sometimes we let it go on and on, unchecked, until some small disagreement has turned into a lawsuit or a divorce. Sometimes it’s the tiniest bit of news that’s soon spun into a story worthy of a tabloid headline. Sometimes it’s the microscopic deceit that leads to catastrophic decisions.  And sometimes, especially within our marriages, it can be a single remark—even a single word—that ignites the quietness; quietness that separates and suffocates all that might have been warm and loving about our homes. Remember the Proverbs writer said it’s better to live in the desert than with a contentious woman (21:19). Let’s work to make the desert’s discomforts a distant runner-up to the spiritual comforts of home.
The Word I Didn’t Mean

There wouldn’t be this quietness…
This sadness in my heart;
This distance in his manner…
We’re together, but apart.

If I had only thought of this
Before I said that word.
But my tongue is in a slippery place
And once it’s out, he’s heard.

Oh, I have said, “I’m sorry.”
And he said, “It’s okay”
He even said he understands
Why I should feel that way.

But tiny words in anger
Escaping in the space between us
Can spawn huge tornadic forces.
That will batter and careen us.

Before they’re done, we’re aching.
We have wounds to tend and clean
And all because that word escaped…
The one I didn’t mean.

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