I sit across from three women I admire. Over fried mushrooms and green beans with a side of ranch (help us all) we talk about the word world. The shifts in publishing and social media. The swords have come out, we all say in one way or another, and we don’t know if they will ever be put back.
By this we mean the cutting statements in Facebook rants, the attack-dog tweets, the opinions launched like grenades at the other side. It’s tempting, so tempting, to run from it all and hide. Or to enter the battle with even bigger bombs. Go nuclear.
But we want neither and I think about this a long time after the waitress has cleared the plates and wiped off the crumbs. I think of it in the car on the way home. As I go to sleep at night. At the breakfast table the next morning.
Over and over one sentence comes to mind. A friend, as she described someone in her life, once said, “She is not a problem to be solved; she is a person to be loved.”
I think it is this we have forgotten. We see the problems — the issues and the differing opinions, the my-way and their-way, the divides like ditches between us. And we think what will make it all better is to fix it all. So we argue about politics and slam the door on our way out. We type in all caps and put exclamation points at the end. We holler until our throats are sore and we can’t even whisper anymore.
And Jesus still says, “Love one another” (John 13:34).
What if we “fixed” all the problems and we turned to see a war field scattered with the wounded and the dying? What if I fight so hard and I win but I am the only one to survive? Is that really a victory?
If the swords are unsheathed then let’s use them to fight the real enemy (which is not each other or any human). Let’s remember we are on the same side. We are part of the same family. We are stronger and better together.
Yes, we will and sometimes must disagree. But we can do it civilly.
We can “be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2). Think this is weakness? Don’t be fooled; “A gentle tongue can break a bone” (Proverbs 25:15).
You know what I think the enemy is after in this battle? Mass casualties in the Kingdom, that we would turn on each other and do his work for him. Let’s not allow this to happen. Let’s agree we will only raise our swords on each other’s behalf, never against.
Our words are not dull butter knives or plastic light sabers swung in the backyard. They are real weapons. We can use them to wound. Or we can fight the darkness together. I choose the latter.
You too?Leave a Comment
Melissa Henderson says
Words can affect us in so many ways. Good ways and bad ways. Recently, a friend wrote some very hurtful words to me. I tried to answer in kindness. I realized there may be more going on in her life that she is sharing and her anger is showing through her words. My answer to her hurtful words is that I am praying for her.
Susan Roach says
Melissa thank you soooo much! This is very encouraging and such truth. Hurt people hurt people. I have gotten better in pausing and not reacting and really knowing that the person I’ve been hurt by really needs prayer. I’ve also been asking God in these situations to change me. Then I don’t react I act in prayer.
Words can be very hurtful, and there is often more to things than we can know. Words are sometimes the only tools we have to move into understanding and restoration. We can’t know what is going on in the lives of others unless we reach out and work toward healing.
C. Brugger says
Praising God for this beautiful truth you have shared. Be encouraged, dear sister in Christ, continue to do the work God has set before you – loving one another with a God kind of love!
What a lovely reminder to be kind and love one another , even when it’s difficult !!
Kay Lake says
Amen, Holley. This brings to mind Micah 6:8. KJV: “He hath shewed thee, O Man,what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy,and to walk humbly with thy God.?” Also in the ERV (the first time I have read this version!): “Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God.”
Notice the words humbly, mercy, and kindness! May we all show mercy to one another.
Blessings to All,
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Great scripture reminder!! I think our society has forgotten that walking humbly (and might I add with a contrite heart) is a virtue! Let’s resurrect humility!
Susan C says
Yes! And I have specific scenarios for “she/he is not a problem to be solved but a person to be loved”
Your words fixed my perspective today. Thanks and God Bless You! Happy Easter!
I love this word so much. As much as I love you and deep fried green beans 🙂
Melissa May says
So many yeses and amens to this, Holley. I was struck again this last Holy Week, reading Jesus’ final words and prayers – LOVE EACH OTHER – was what Jesus put in all caps and showed and told them. May we shield each other rather than flash swords at each other. Amen.
Holley, this was the conversation I had last night with a dear friend. ‘Love one another’. Such powerful words but often neglected when we seek to push back with our own agendas.
Rachel Collier says
Yes ~ and me! Love this ….Thank You so!!
This really touched me. It can be so easy to get caught up in the muck and more of this world. I often remind myself what my husband tells me when i get worked up, ” Our only job is to love them.”. Thank you for a poignant post.
Oh, that’s sooo good, Holly! Thank you for this excellent reminder!! Blessings on you.
Thank you! This is so good and such a great reminder of who the real enemy is. I love the phrase that ‘she is not a problem to be solved; She is a person to be loved.’ I’m grateful for the reminder. So many times when I’m hurt, the first reaction is to hurt back especially with ungracious words. I Corinthians 13 is always a good chapter to meditate on and be reminded over and over who God is and since we’re His children to be like Him and not otherwise.
Brilliant! Well said, Holley! X
R A Gatt says
I love this post. It is so true let’s think of other persons as people to be loved not problems to be fixed. The world can change, when we choose to “love one another” as Jesus taught us.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
What a poignant reminder that others are not projects to be fixed, but people to be loved. How selfish we are/I am to think that if everyone else would fly by my rules, everything would be okay. Yes, let’s look to who the REAL enemy is and foil his ugly plans to divide and conquer Christ’s people. Let us/me use our tongues to build up and not to tear down. In doing so we encourage reconciliation instead of furthering separation and choosing up sides. Such a timely post and right on the mark!!
Annie Thompson says
I just lost my job, my boss called me into his office last Thursday, telling me to gather all my belongings, gave me my last check, told me to leave. Of course, I asked him why, and all he could say, someone had told him, I said something wrong. For the past four days, I have gone over in my mind, what I could of said..I have had people say horrible things to me, and I could not do that to another person, it truly hurts. Help me understand how I can deal with this problem..
Annie dear sister in Christ. Your time has come to move from that place, it may not feel right and it didn’t happen in the right way but God has a new plan for you. Pray to him for guidance for your life is going to blossom out in his way on his time.
Pray for the people at your old work. Ask God your father to heal the hurt and specially the anger that will boil. Don’t let it rule you. Your path has changed not by your choosing but by our heavenly fathers. It’s ok to be upset, but remember to wipe those tears and step forward with love and pray. For you do not know what adventures God is leading you on. Have faith sister for he only has wonderful things to come for you Annie.
Susan Roach says
Annie I am so sorry for your hurt! I have just recently gone through a very hurtful situation and I was really starting to feel sorry for myself, and really believing that’s where I needed to be (that’s a lie!). Well … I thought if I could just know “why” … “why” … can you please tell “why” and then I can get through my hurt feelings. Then I had a very wise woman in my life tell me, “Suzie there is NO freedom in why”. I thought, “well you just don’t understand I need to know”. Then the woman that I was hurt by gave me “her reason” my “why” and you know what? There was NO freedom in her answer, not one bit! As a matter of fact I didn’t believe her answer and it wasn’t good enough because I knew that it wasn’t the truth! Ok … I thought … my friend was right and I stopped asking why and starting asking God “what”. And He gave me my answers. The answers weren’t what I thought lol lol imagine that, but they were exactly what I needed. I hope this is helpful to you. Blessings, peace and freedom my sister!
Annie Thompson says
I know the person who lied about me..and I know if I called her, she would lie again, about “why” she said something wrong. The younger working ladies, ( 21 – 30 ), need a lot of growing up, the work place is NOT to hurt other staff members. Will I ever see this person again, properly not, all I can do is pray to GOD to give me strength in a very confused world.
My grandparents raised me, from old school, and I will always be accountable for my words, and actions. We areNO longer in school, where lying should not take place there either, people should be held accountable for how they hurt other’s.
Thank you for the positive feedback.. I am getting by..but as always, I still ask “why”, I place this in GOD’s hands, he will take care of me, and you, giving us love & strength to lean on him, and feel secure with the Holy Spirit.
Susan Roach says
Thank you Annie you are a great inspiration. Keep showing God to all people. You are a good example. I will pray that the Lord comfort your heart ❤️ and that the people you work with see Him.
Annie Thompson says
Thank you for your kind words..it’s so easy to show God’s love ❤️..I just feel bad for people who are in a dark place..unfortunately, sometimes it takes for some people to have a wake up call, before they can believe..
Sending hugs and prayers your way Susan..
Susan Roach says
Thank you Annie … I know until I was absolutely broken I would not surrender; I didn’t even know I had to surrender. The greatest thing is in Ecclesiastes it says that God puts eternity in every human heart. So everyone is given the chance to know him and to come out of the darkness. My girlfriend always says people in the dark don’t look for a light switch. I also have been using Ezekiel 11:19 for a scripture to pray for people.
Hugs to you too Annie❤️
Rebecca L Jones says
I have blessed with my blogging and cyberspace endeavors, I have had very few negative comments and only one other Christian women who wanted to argue with me about angels, one who believed that only a few chosen people would be saved. I suppose the hardest thing to read was a woman saying about her daughter, maybe He’ll heal her maybe He won’t. Words are powerful, and we should all want to bless, but it is to others to receive. Being belligerent doesn’t do it. For our own well being we have to move on if people refuse to hear and just want to argue.
One another. . .I keep seeing this phrase and thinking I should adopt this phrase as a mantra. It keeps my perspective on us, and not them. It is only when we are divided that we pit ourselves against each other. One another. . .is so inclusive. . .as if there is no me without you. How do we infect the world with this beautiful challenge of seeing, thinking, doing, loving not just him, or her, or them. . .but all of us. . .one another.
Susan Roach says
I like that Eunice … I’ll start it here in NEPA and you start it where you are and we will see how far it travels lol lol
Nina Ruth says
I was off of all social media for years, but recently just dipped my toes in the water again by going back on Twitter.
WOW, what a shock!
I’d no idea how vicious it was out there!
I think that the clincher for me was seeing an attack recently on a well-known Christian’s blog. This person is probably very used to criticism, but the very precision of the remarks against this person’s blog left me sickened and on my face before God, interceding for Him to heal the person who’d been attacked from any and all poison from that lie-tipped arrow.
I don’t ever agree with some of the blog owner’s theology, nonetheless, as his sister in Christ, I was wounded, as well, by the mean words viciously flung through cyberspace at him. I pray that my heartfelt defense of, and concern for, this wounded brother would be as oil and wine from the Good Samaritan, pouring in the healing life of Jesus…and opening his heart that we may have gentle conversation regarding my concerns about some elements of his beliefs.
I want to be a LIFE-speaker, just like YOU, Holley!
Nina Ruth 🙂
Thank You, Sweet Holley for your awesome words of encouragement from the Father’s heart to yours and then to ours! ♥
I want you to know how much you are appreciated and I stand with you, with our swords drawn against the enemy! We have one another’s backs in this life!! ☺
Blessings on your week!!
your article speaks right into some stuff I am experiencing right now and confirms what was said to me on Saturday April 15 that the evil is using us against each other. I’ve had some tearful conversations with God where I realized that I am as guilty as the others people involved in these situations. This morning I didn’t want to come out of my bed and face the world.
I have encountered a few people who wanted to fix me but rather than take it to God, I strike back and the cycle continues not realizing that we are grieving the Holy Spirit and giving the evil one a victory. I love your quote: “Let’s agree that we will only raise our swords on each other’s behalf not against.”
I pray that God will enable me to take that stand by the power of His Holy Spirit.
Terri Jennings says
Thank you for always writing what God lays on your heart. I just finished the 40 day challenge of keeping my mouth shut, called, “Zip It” by Karen Ehman. All of these wonderful books about being still and being lead by the Holy Spirit before we speak, have ministered to me greatly at this time in my life with a particular member of my family. Thank you again and God Bless you!
Thank you for this very timely blog. I was just praying about this very thing a few minutes ago. I was asking God to forgive me for not ha I got the courage to respond to some of the very hateful comments on Facebook. Then I opened my email and there was your blog❤️ I feel as though God was telling me “It’s ok I don’t want you to respond I want you to love. To be still and know that I am God!”
Thank you Holley for allowing God to use you in such a mighty way.
Holly, I can’t even tell you how I needed these words! I was up until 2 a.m. the other night – writing down a private response to something a fellow believer posted on social media, which wasn’t ABOUT me – but was about me, in that it was directed to her fellow believers. And my heart had been ripped in two. And then to read all of the exclamation points in the comments – agreeing, disagreeing, and everyone having their two-cents. But where was Jesus? I think He was standing in Heaven as our Advocate and Redeemer – His hands still bearing the wounds that should have been ours, and which we so easily forget. I never posted my response, of course. I just typed it out – and gave it to Jesus. I think more of us should do the same. Give it to God. He IS big enough. And so often, we just aren’t. I couldn’t agree more that Satan’s #1 motus operandi these days is to completely tear apart the Church. And he does it under the guise of righteousness and love, passion and purpose — but they are all self-serving. Love is not self-serving. Let us really let that sink in. Love is not self-serving. Opinions aired for all the world to see, in order to prove a point no matter the cost. That is self-serving. God’s opinion matters more than ours. Thank you so much for these words today! I’m treasuring them in my heart!
Tori Rask says
This. Is. Everything.
I have read it three times already and probably will again.
It speaks so beautifully to so much that has been weighing on my heart lately. And it also speaks to why I want to write and blog and, if God gives me the chance, speak to moms- because what you say is SO TRUE and women and moms get caught in the crosshairs (on BOTH sides) and it’s holding us down, holding us back, and keeping us from coming together and being all we are created to be.
Thank you for this, I’m going to share it all of the places. After I read it again…
The “she is not a problem to be solved” resonated with me for another reason. I am a “fixer” (or meddler, or frankly codependent!) who has put so much energy into “fixing” / “helping” others that I have lost track of myself. Lost track of what makes me happy and what lifts me up. So if someone else is in a bad way I can love them/pray for them – and pass them over to the Lord. As someone told me in a particular situation “you can’t save them. Only God can save”. Note to self!
Brenda Lee Faber says
Holley I love your posts they are so inspiring! But……………..today I didn’t resonate as much with this one because although I believe all the backlashing is very wrong and taking sides and slinging insults in the ongoing “us against them” war, I do however engage in educating myself to the wrongs that are taking away many of our rights and freedoms by the greedy corporate state that appears to have a stranglehold on our gov’t which is even stripping the Earth of its rights in the name of making them richer and having more money to spend on warring with nations to also capture their resources. I believe that we need to “resist” their agendas and that can’t be done if we are complacent or uninvolved. “They” are more than ready to steamroll every right we have left including our religious freedoms. What’s going on is not Christian, not right and not something I intend to sit back and pretend isn’t happening. I share the truths I find on climate denial, human rights injustices, wars on false flags etc. and feel the animosity from some people who assume I’m on the opposite political side of them when in fact I find the entire duopoly system corrupt. It’s sad to see people who claim to be Christian posting things about Muslims being the enemy and when you are of the belief “we are all one” you can be viewed as not supporting the gov’t or our safety and labeled as being on the other side. It’s a mess I pray for daily. So after reading your blog today I felt a pang of unease, because I share things I feel are wrong in the world, which I think we should be doing, if we have the mind to and it’s true that I have little trust or faith in the gov’t to be for the people, my mission is to share injustices I see and hope others also see it and work for the good to overcome the bad. This unfortunately riles people up because for those who believe it’s time to phase out fossil fuels a common comeback is “do you drive a car?”
I find great comfort in Leonard Cohen’s quote: “there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
On a brighter note I also share the “good” things in life!
What a wonderful post, and the replies are great! I was once told, “I couldn’t FIX you.” This was her excuse for walking away and shuning me, then hanging up on me when I tried calling. Even after the years that have gone by, I struggle with this. That hurt goes deep!
Love this! Thank you for sharing! ❤
Beth Negrey says
Thanks so much for sharing this, Holly! The sniping and attacking on social media has gotten to the point that I’ve dialed my presence on any of them WAY back as it’s been taking too much of my time and energies. But when I’m there, I try my hardest to be there as a daughter of Christ. I remember learning the 8th commandment: You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way.
How far I’ve gotten away from this one, especially, in past months. I do agree with you about how the enemy is deceptively (as ever) trying to lure us away from our focus on Him. And, as always, His big commandment is to love one another. May we ever be reminded of this! (And if you ever find yourself in Silverton, OR, the coffee’s on me!)
kim marquette says
Learning to look for the hurt behind the cruel comments, the attacks, the lashing out. Easier to not get entangled when I seek to understand the why beyond the words. Learning…
Summer Rae says
Dearest Miss Holley,
Thank you for sharing your encouragement and wise words. So timely… recently I have felt like everyone is trying to “fix” everything that I do. But, you have reminded me that it is not about me, or them, and that answering with gentleness and kindness and patience is what I need to keep doing… Thank you again.
This side of Heaven,
Theresa Boedeker says
This reminds me of Proverbs 18:21 about our words having the power of life and death. Just watch how your words can make someone stand taller, smile, and even laugh. Then watch how your words can drain someone’s joy, cause them to pull away from others, cause them to doubt their worth. Yes to speaking words of life and love.
Holley Gerth says
Thanks so much for sharing your hearts, thoughts and stories here, friends! I’m glad we can use our words to encourage each other. I read all of the comments and I’m praying for those of you who are going through hard situations, I’m okay with different perspectives, and I’m grateful for ALL of you!
I think world needs Peace , kindness, and Love Why Jesus Died on Cross all of us
I need power prayer with warrior of prayers Brenda west Grove,, PA
Andy Stanley – pastor of North Point church in the Atlanta area said the following: instead of getting into hot discussions about politics with friends and family – say – our friendship means more to me than my views!!!
Susan Roach says
Holly thank you so much for your sharing of what God puts on your heart. What’s funny is sometimes I don’t get to read your devotion the day it comes to me … so I read it when I can. And it’s always the right time! Because His timing is perfect! I LOVED this devotion. I have been reminded many times when hurt or angry or in a situation that is causing a wedge between me and someone else, and more causing a wedge between me and the Lord … that this person or situation is NOT my enemy … the enemy is spiritual. And I need to be reminded of this in my own home as I was reminded of that this morning and then opened your email and read your devotion❤️. God is good! God is faithful! God is just! ALWAYS!!! And His character and what He does does not depend on me (thank You for that Lord). My biggest challenge with this is in my own home! My husband and I are newly married❤️ And we have been called together in a very fast and bold way, and with that has come some spiritual warfare. But God (don’t you just love that). He is faithful ALL the time!!! Even this morning when my husband and I were struggling and we cried out to the Lord, my husband and I prayed and then I read your devotion! Yes sisters He is ALWAYS faithful! My family are not believers and I refused to argue with them about political views (the Lord has worked much in me). Because they say trust in god (little “g”) and my response is, “I trust in the God of the heavens that He is faithful and sovereign and nothing gets past Him without it sifting through for His approval. You can’t say you trust in God and then complain about everything that is happening.” And the truth is the don’t have trust in God. Again my biggest challenge is in my home. And the Lord is strengthening me and my husband in this area. I had to STOP trying to control my husband or the situation and trust God. It’s not “controlling” or “co-dependent” it really comes down to not trusting in God. I’m thankful for that conviction and truth spoken from sisters that don’t allow me to believe those lies. My one sister pointed out to me one day trying to control the situation in my house as having spiritual pride and that I needed to repent for that and for not truly trusting in Him. Wow! tough stuff but I am so thankful for His refining and truth spoken.
Thank you soooo much Holley I can feel your gentleness in your writing❤️ keep up the good work sister of royalty and may God continue to bless you, your family and your ministry
Beth Williams says
This brings to mind James 3:9-10 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. This world is becoming so vile that people will say or do anything without worrying about the consequences. The old saying “words will never hurt” is inaccurate. Words do hurt & the wounds can be deep. I find it best sometimes just to stay silent. I try to let my actions speak for me.