“I hate women’s groups, I didn’t want to come today.”
“I have been so hurt by other women, I didn’t want to come to a ‘feel good’ session when I have been ripped open by women’s gossip and backstabbing…by CHRISTIAN women!”
These are among the comments shared by dear ladies at the end of our Women’s Conference this past weekend. They went on to say…..
“I am so glad I came. I know now that I am not the only one facing the challenges I am dealing with right now.”
“I feel free for the first time in so long, I am so thankful I came.”
I must say that I was surprised by the number of ladies who admitted that they didn’t want to come to the conference. Of the over 70 women that participated, I would venture a guess from a casual evaluation that maybe a third had reservations about attending.
Because they have been hurt by the words of their fellow Christians.
Hurt by woman who have
* gossiped about them,
* talked behind their backs,
* sometimes even openly judged them.
The hurt was clear in the voices and tears of these women who shared.
Why do we do that? Why do we hurt each other? Are we like wounded animals that lash out visciously to hurt someone else because we are hurting ourselves?
James addresses this very issue in James 1:26
26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.
James goes on to say in chapter 3:5-12
5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
This is quite an indictment on how we misuse our God given ability to communicate. Our tongues are “full of deadly poison”. Verse 10 says – “this should not be!”
This misuse of the tongue was exactly what those precious sisters were expressing. They had been poisoned by the words of other Christians and some of the wounds were still festering. They didn’t want to come to the Conference and have old wounds reopened.
Yet these women came to the Conference!
I believe it was because the Holy Spirit prompted them to come and receive the healing that they spoke about after admitting their initial reluctance to attend. These ladies shared through tears of joy that they were accepting God’s grace and healing.
The speaker for this Conference, Sheila Atchley, shared stories from the Bible about women who face much of what we face, even if it is 2000+ years later. She shared her own story and gave us a powerful testimony of God’s grace through trials. She challenged us as women to honestly share our stories, using our tongues to bless and encourage each other. I was so blessed by Sheila!
If we have been hurt – we must receive God’s healing grace and love.
If we have hurt someone else, we must ask for forgiveness and receive God’s healing grace and love.
I pray that we would be like the woman in Proverbs 31:26 (NLT)
26 When she speaks, her words are wise,
and she gives instructions with kindness.
Sheila Atchley is an artist who honors God with her beautiful creations. Check them out on Facebook:
Sheila Atchley Designs or Pinterest: Sheila Atchley