Thursday, May 23, 2013

Self-Inflicted Wounds

Mark Dohle’s blog left me with a question, his answer and some continued thoughts:
What happens to our hearts when we mock, gossip and belittle others? It is a self inflicted wound that will only bleed and become more infected until the time we seek forgiveness and mercy for the damage done.
I thought first of those who do self-harm, most often cuts on their limbs. Not suicidal cuts, and pretty much defined as cries for help for a wide variety of reasons, too numerous to list here. That reminded me of the Bible story I’ve been reading through the last few blogs.

And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. (Numbers 12:1)

It wasn’t about Moses’ leadership, it was because of his wife that Miriam spoke against Moses. We are not told why she became gossipy and backbiting about her sister-in-law. It may simply have been because she was Ethiopian.  Miriam's offence was sufficient that she, Moses and Aaron were called into the tabernacle.

And the LORD spake suddenly unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out. And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth. (Numbers 12:4-5)

What did she think when she got the summons? That God would vindicate her? Did she still believe that she was equal to Moses’ calling? Did she expect accolades and honors? Or was she filled with trepidation, fearing – knowing – she had been wrong? Did she expect punishment for being so hurtful?

God explained to them that Moses was special. Others may hear God through dreams, but to Moses, He spoke face to face.  God did not chastise Miriam, did not call attention to her error, did not call out a punishment upon her. He simply left, and her self-inflicted wound was evident:

And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous. (Numbers 12:10)

Her verbal attack on God’s spokesman was without merit. She had taken an earthly desire, voiced it in front of God’s people and had to live with the consequences of going against God Himself. Her disease was self-inflicted, by her own mouth she was convicted and punished.

The consequences of our actions are often similar self-inflicted wounds. Some may be physically painful, but the spiritual wounding we do separates us from God. Prayer and a contrite heart brings us back to Him. We are not told that Miriam said anything – but Aaron cried out for her, as did Moses:

And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned. (Numbers 12:11)

And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee. (Numbers 12:13)

Seven days passed before she was healed and was able to return. How long will we wait before we will ask God’s forgiveness for how we wounded ourselves?

1 comment:

  1. Truth truth truth....i was just reading an article that said "we restrain ourselves because it takes more from us than it adds to us"...i also believe that mocking, gossiping and belittling others is a sign of pride that says - Surely i can do better than them- Thanks for the reminder.


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