How many times in your life has someone stung you? How often have you felt a sting? Do you sting others?
Most importantly: when you're stung, what does it tell you?
All of us struggle in a world of such "bites." These days, it seems like many are on a mission to sting whomever they can! And there's never a good reason to do so. Correct, yes; even rebuke: in many cases, we're call to do that, especially with our children.
But that's not a "sting." A sting has a particular feel to it. There is venom in it. It is a negative comment (or action) without love. Instead, there is some kind of intensely negative emotion behind it -- even dislike, envy, or hatred. Who can stand before jealousy? Venom indicates darkness because it comes from within the spirit.
Ephesians calls them the "fiery darts" (of the enemy). Elsewhere in the Bible, we may see comparison to thorn bushes, or scorpions.
There is that sudden e-mail that sends you reeling -- tipped with poison. There is that phone call, stealth. There is a letter -- a "poison-pen" note -- or a remark to your face that digs quickly and sharply and sometimes in a lasting way into your spirit.
That tells us that we may have put ourselves in a spot that has made us vulnerable. Are there spots in your spirit that are not protected? Are we doing the same to others? Are there places where we need better armor?
They are good questions to ask the Holy Spirit.
Many are those who justify the negativity they lay on others by telling themselves that they are doing so to correct someone.
Venom does not correct. It infects. It poisons. In fact, in the old days, venom was a synonym for poison!
You know how it is: suddenly you hear from someone and it throws you for a loop. It immediately unsettles you. It may even ruin your day. There is a "buzz" of negative energy.
You certainly don't want to do that. What does it tell us about those who do such?
What animals deliver venom?
We think of fire ants. Anyone in the South knows how they feel! A little bite from a tiny creature causes a huge swelling. It burns like a coal from the netherworld. Then there are toads: some of these are poisonous, as are ocean creatures like the jellyfish, which come at us in a way that is nearly invisible, or sting rays that float just below our view.
There are venomous spiders, who catch us in their webs. There are the snakes that lie in wait.
Do we want to associate with any of those animals?
Yet when someone delivers words or actions that sting they are doing just that: imitating a serpent. There are ways of speaking and advising others without delivering venom, and there are also ways of preventing or lessening the bite when the sting is directed at us.
How do we do that?
We have spoken before about the fact that we should not "drink of the poison": The devil is constantly trying to send us venom. He tries to provoke us. He wants us to respond, and especially to respond in kind with our own venom. This is a trap and if we avoid it -- if we don't drink of the venom -- the "sting" loses its effect. It may burn for a while, it may itch in a way that is intense, there may be temporary swelling, but such will not last unless we respond to it, unless we let it engage us, unless we focus on it and let poison build within us.
Another way of saying it: don't breathe in evil. We breathe in evil when we respond in kind.
Doesn't it take inhaling to talk back to someone?
That inhalation is from the air, the atmosphere, of aridity (where scorpions live), of darkness.
Cast it out immediately. "Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you," promises Luke 10:19.
"And you, son of man, neither fear them nor fear their words, though thistles and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions; neither fear their words nor be dismayed at their presence," added Ezekiel (2:6).
Is there someone in your family who is constantly stinging you? Someone at work? At church?
Let it go. Forgive right away. These are the antidotes: Don't respond to it. Turn the other cheek.
For an arrow without cause is bent like a boomerang. Just duck and it will return to the sender.
When bit by a fire ant, one applies white vinegar, ammonia, and bleach in rapid succession. This can completely neutralize the bite.
But it must be done immediately.
And when we are stung, we must immediately forget about retaliation, immediately put the insult out of our thoughts, and send instead love and forgiveness, totally. Immediately. Do that and the venom won't spread through your body, through your thoughts, through your being.
There you have it: a recipe for never feeling the sting again.
[resources: The God of Miracles]
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