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By Liz Bond
I am new to this church. I am excited because I have been asked to play the piano for the Lady’s Retreat. Arrival time is 6:30 p.m. I decided to come early and get set up so I can lead others in singing with the rest of the group.
Mary comes up to me and asks if I could also play some pre-music as the ladies arrive. I said sure, but since I live 30 miles away I don’t have access to my piano books. I go to the piano in the sanctuary to look for music in the piano bench. I see a piano book sitting on the bench. I open it up to see what I could possibly sight read when in the gathering crowd Geraldine yells angrily across the sanctuary, “That book is not yours and you may not keep it. That is my book. It is for the pianist playing Sunday.”
Did she really do that Lord? Did she just humiliate me in front of everyone? She just accused me of trying to steal her book. I don’t have time to think about this because I need to find something to play. I still used the book since I found a few songs easy enough to play.
The night was a success with God present in songs and through the speaker. I am still hurt by the accusing words thrown across the room. These words pop into my mind: “The tongue has the power of life and death,” Proverbs 18:21 states. This means the angry words of Geraldine stabbed my heart. She killed my character in front of all the gathering ladies from church whom I didn’t know. Geraldine passed judgment on me. Her judgment is the same as murder.
I want to hate her. I John 4:20 tells me, “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.” My thoughts swirl. God, you tell me that if I hate my brother in Christ, yet state I love You at the same time, I am a liar. If I can’t love my brother whom I’ve seen, how can I love You, God, whom I haven’t seen? I know I haven’t been perfect; I, too, have passed judgment.
Lord, help me to be more like you in character. You are holy Lord God; help me to be holy since you live in me. Jesus, you are my standard. Give me strength to control my tongue and not destroy the character of another. Give me strength to love my sister despite the angry words hurled across that crowded room.
Liz Bond is a housewife who holds a degree in music from Cornell College. Her heart was captured by Christ as a teenager. She’s always cared deeply for the less fortunate, and frequently travels on short-term mission trips, especially to Haiti. God blessed her with two grown children, Mollie and Bobby, making her and her husband empty nesters. Her love of mountains keeps her active in North Carolina.