Earlier today, as the news coverage of the bombing at the Boston Marathon began to unfold, my 5 year old had lots of questions. Some were the same that all of us asked following another senseless act of violence. Some were very “5 years old”. But one stood out. One really made me think.
“Mommy, who are they mad at?”
At first I thought maybe she was referring to someone on TV. But when I asked who she meant, she said, “The people that blowed up the bombs. Who are they mad at?”
I told her they were just mad people. People who needed Jesus. That answer seemed to satisfy her. But it really didn’t satisfy me. These evil people had no one person in mind, just destruction and chaos. Their anger (and whatever else fuels them) took lives, injured hundreds and probably changed thousands of lives. And caused many of us to re-think how safe the world around us really is…or isn’t.
As I sat and thought about this misdirected anger and the damage the explosions caused, God began to speak to me. He asked me how many times my misdirected anger (or frustration or impatience or…) has wreaked havoc on those around me. How many times have I allowed the explosion of mouth to bring emotional casualties?
In so many ways these two things are completely different. But the visual of what we’ve seen today really is what it looks like emotionally when we come unglued and allow our mouth to explode with harmful words.
I’ve never considered myself an angry person. But truthfully, I’ve probably just called it frustration, exhaustion, impatience…maybe even conviction. But whatever you or I call it, the results of it are the same. A verbal explosion that rips and tears emotionally, often at those we love the most. A path of destruction that can take days, months, even years to “clean up”.
Tonight my prayer is first for the people who have experienced something too horrendous for words. My second prayer is that I will be more mindful of my words, my reactions, my moods. That my actions and words wouldn’t leave people asking “who is she mad at?” but saying “she speaks in love”.