Even When It Hurts: February 24, 2021

Even When It Hurts -- Lent 2021 Devotional Book

Read: Psalm 35

For they do not speak peace, but they conceive deceitful words against those who are quiet in the land.
-Psalm 35:20

One of the hard parts about living in small Midwestern towns is the rumor mill. Everyone knows everyone else’s business, and I would hear things about me that were not even close to being true. For example, I was at the grocery store while six months pregnant, and my shirt rose an inch when I reached for something. Apparently, an inch of my baby belly was visible, and one of my former husband’s parishioners saw me. They mentioned it to one of our church treasurers, and the treasurer called my former husband to accuse me of flashing the parishioner who saw me.

Um, excuse me? Have they met me?!?!? There are nuns that show more skin than I do on a regular basis, and I don’t think I owned a dress, skirt, pair of pants, or shorts shorter than knee-length at that time. When I told my boss, she fell off her chair laughing. Our ELCA bishop thought it was the funniest thing ever, as did pretty much everyone who was told what the treasurer had said. Still, I was (and still am) irritated that she (the treasurer) tried to ruin my reputation in the community maliciously.
I can really understand the psalmist’s pain and why he is calling for God to judge those who are hurting them. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can be really stinging to me. I have to remind myself that nothing anyone can say to me or stay about me can diminish my worth in God’s eyes, and God’s opinion of me is the only one that matters.

In those times when words wound our spirit, be present with us, Lord, and remind us that You created us to be worthy of dignity and respect. Amen.
-Jen McCabe