It was so close that Roger could hear it. His hair stood on end as the bullet flew by his head and lodged in the wall behind him. He deftly moved to his right and shot back at his opponent with the intention of maiming. His shot went wide of its target. Roger then swung around and instead of escaping the shoot out, he unwittingly walked into his opponent’s line of sight. As soon as he realized what happened it was too late. A bullet caught him in the left shoulder. He looked at down and saw the bullet’s effect on his coat where a small, insignificant hole appeared. A bystander would not have noticed the hole unless they saw the black gunpowder ring around it. But the bullet had found its target.
Roger fell to the floor and in his fall landed on his wounded shoulder. The pain was excruciating. Every nerve in his body cried out for relief. He felt like a red hot iron had been stuck into his body.
There was no time for “licking his wounds”. He was on the defensive and needed to turn the tables to survive. Another direct hit and his life would be over. He rolled over on the floor several times to get out of the line of fire. Somehow he found the strength to rise to his feet and emptied his pistol’s cartridge in the direction of his adversary. He quickly hid behind a wall to avoid return fire.
After a few seconds Roger knew he now had the advantage. No return fire came, only human groans that indicated his enemy was in severe pain. With the upper hand, Roger pressed in to make the most of his advantage. In a full frontal attack, with screams and yelling, he rounded the corner and finished off his assailant.
He would live, but his opponent was dead. As Roger soothed his pains, his heart grew despondent and desperate. He realized he had just killed his wife.
The battle that was just described happened in Roger’s living room. There were not real bullets flying but they felt like ones. Roger and his wife had been shooting hurtful words at each other hoping to destroy the other. Roger did not physically kill his wife but he did kill her spirit and soul.
The battle that Roger and his wife took part in happens every day as marriage partners who were once intimate lovers wound each other with their words. The words go deep and can cause more damage than physical bullets. The words we speak can burn others souls.
Ever been in a deadly battle like this?
Often the battle of words elevate into yelling as each partner becomes determined to deliver the last bullet. Insults and emotional jabs continue until one person gets the upper hand. No matter who gets the last word, both sides end up in emotional and spiritual intensive care, with the losing partner going down for the final count.
How do we stop the massacre? When one person stops shooting.
If one partner will return a soft answer, or even nothing at all, instead of shooting words, the way of peace can begin (Proverbs 15:1).
Impossible? Close to it, but not impossible.
When you receive a cutting remark, don’t fire back. If you do the skirmish will turn into full blown war.
At first it’s fun shooting back, but in the end you will both die if you do. Instead, quietly and inwardly, talk to Jesus and give Him your pain. Ask Him to soothe it and not let the word stick. Ask Him for His love in knowing how to respond.
Also ask Jesus to help you put your gun back in the holster.