My cell phone vibrated with a message from one of our managers. “Jill, are you sure you want to see all comments? Even if they’re bad? Personally, I’d rather delete this one.”
My meeting ended, and I picked up my phone to answer the text. “Absolutely. Feel free to send the comment. It’s important, so we can learn and grow. Plus, I want to answer them, so any viewer or listener feels heard.”
Sometimes life is easier when it remains intellectual. You know, when you know the “right thing” to say. But what if it hurts? Can I glibly say the right thing then?
I braced myself for the e-mail. I figured it must be pretty strong for the manager to comment on it in the first place. And then it came: “What a disappointment that Jill, or should I say JEZEBEL, is. I can’t stand to listen to God’s Word come out of her Jezebel made-up face. . . . Looks like Babylon truly has come into the church.”
Why do we claim to know truth when we cannot love each other?
Sometimes there are no words. But that doesn’t stop the thoughts. They can be more overpowering than any words. Am I a Jezebel? Am I a hindrance to my church? Am I a stumbling block to someone else? And the most painful one: Am I misrepresenting the Jesus I love?
An e-mail was sent back, thanking the viewer for their comment, assuring them I would pray about their concern, along with sharing my heart’s desire that God would always keep me humble, modest, and bringing glory to Him.
It’s been some time since that e-mail came in, but I haven’t forgotten it. One can try to forget, but the impression that’s made, the feeling that’s created, lives on. Someone told me once to forget the good along with the bad. In other words, when someone praises you, don’t let it go to your head. Likewise, when someone criticizes you, don’t let it go to your heart. I’m not sure I’ve been successful with either.
But I’ve learned one thing: What I say matters.
The words I speak can uplift and encourage or tear down and oppress. Those words can mean the difference between success and failure, between victory and defeat, between choosing Jesus or walking away from Him.
Why are we so hard on one another? Why do we judge when we’ve never walked even a step in their shoes? Can we be true Christians if our hearts remain cold? Why do we claim to know truth when we cannot love each other? Why do we talk the talk but fail so miserably at the walk?
Could it be that we know truth but have never met the Teacher? that we accept doctrines without experiencing deliverance? that we’re so stuck on ourselves that we cannot see past the sin in our own lives?
Do I need to grow? Absolutely. I want to become like Jesus, to love as He loved, to share His compassion and grace with others.
God, teach me to speak Your words and to share Your love.
Jill Morikone is vice president and chief operations officer for Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN), a supporting Adventist television network. She and her husband, Greg, live in southern Illinois and enjoy ministering together for Jesus.