“I will…teach you what to say.” Ex 4:12 NIV
Sometimes we excuse someone’s critical attitude by saying, “Oh, his bark is worse than his bite.” True, a dog’s bite can hurt, but so can a dog’s bark. It can traumatize a child and leave them filled with fear. Think about the comparison; do you want to be likened to a dog? Sometimes it’s necessary to confront someone in order to set healthy boundaries for your own good, or to keep them out of harm’s way. But Jesus spoke with compassion much more often than He spoke with confrontation or condemnation. Writing about her early experience as a believer, Karen Casey Arneson says: “I reentered the kingdom scarred and bleeding, hoping to find healing for my wounds. And I did find some who bathed my bite marks and bound up my old wounds. I also found out there were cannibals in Christendom…though you mightn’t recognize us…we’re the sweetly smiling sisters who bite your back when you turn away…The nosy Nancys who come sniffing around for the scent of some juicy morsel of gossip…God warns, ‘If you bite and devour one another…you [will] be consumed by one another’…Strength to resist our natural appetites comes through satisfying our hunger at another source…The Psalmist says, ‘Taste and see that the Lord is good’ (Ps 34:8). The nature we feed is the nature that grows strong…and without vigilance we can easily fall into old habits. A little snacking on this one, a little taste of that one…and before we know it—we’ve unleashed the cannibal within. While we’re called to help our brothers and sisters caught in sin, we’re also cautioned to ‘watch…or you also may be tempted’ (See Gal 6:1 NLT).”
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