I pray that we all have a remarkable year of good health, tons of laughter, new-found wisdom, eye-popping revelations, great opportunities, and a strong prayer life. Did you make any resolutions this year? If yes, have you started following them or, like some of us, are you hiding behind the excuse of “I’ll start tomorrow?”
Although I made a few resolutions that I can’t boast of sticking to just yet, there is a particular one that I’ve pledged to adhere to at all costs--watching what comes out of my mouth, especially when I scold others. What we say matters a great deal. We can make or break ourselves and others with our choice of words.
Spending the holidays with my siblings is always a catalyst for memories. As we got together this past holiday, childhood nostalgia took over. There was much joy and laughter as we relived so many wonderful and exciting memories. This continued until the face of a teacher who taught me in elementary school flashed across my mind. The thought of her made me cringe and almost cast a damper on my holiday mood. Here’s why.
I was born with a pronounced red birthmark on the left side of my face. Back then, it was the first thing you saw if you were meeting me for the first time. I was very conscious of it and used to feel like I was from another planet, because no one seemed to have a face like mine. The kids in school didn’t help matters with their constant showers of horrible names. Red-faced monster, ugly girl, map of the world, and your-mother-must-have-slapped-you-with-a-red-spoon were just some of the names they used to stab my esteem.
These taunts laid the foundation for many pity parties. “Why me?” was the question I used to put before God, and whenever my mother came home from work and saw I’d been crying, she would try her best to convince me that I was beautiful. Her words had a way of gently pulling out the pins from the malicious words the kids had stuck in me earlier in the day. This became a cycle, till I slowly started believing there might be some truth in what my mother was saying. I gained a tiny bit of confidence and was at the point of figuring out a way to dismiss the bullying acts of my classmates.
I was almost there when one day the teacher was trying to get my attention. I’d never really had an encounter with her before, but it seemed like she had something to say to me. Instead of calling me by my name, she called out something I’ll never forget: “Come here, Red Face.” You can’t imagine the bolts of shock that ran from my head to my feet. She had betrayed my innocent mind to such an extent and such a depth that I am fighting back tears as I write this. For an adult to confirm what the kids were saying on a daily basis proved to me that I was indeed a red-faced monster. Her words created a wound that led to deeper wounds that caused unimaginable aches for years. If it hadn’t been for the Lord on my side, only God knows the other options I would have sought to medicate the pain.
So do you see why we should make it a point of duty in 2013 to watch our words? We must form and maintain the habit of speaking life into others. God help us and see us through as we do this, in Jesus’ name.
Until next time, have a happy year.
May Olusola is the Publisher of MannaEXPRESS.