Just Drop the Pen

penEver had one of those moments when you’re sitting on something you think someone needs to hear, and finally you say it – and it isn’t until the moment it escapes your lips that you realize how needless and stupid it was all along?

Yeah. That’s probably happened to me more times than I can remember. I’ll think someone needs to hear something, and it will inevitably turn out that I had neither the timing nor the right information, and my comment comes off as flippant and insensitive.

I apologize, ask for forgiveness, turn to God as best I could. And God usually comes through in my relationships.

But you know what? That’s not enough. I don’t want this sort of thing to happen anymore. At all.

So I asked myself, where did that come from? What well of muck deep in my soul even spews forth such things?

The answer came from God via a friend who was examining her own heart: a “critical spirit”.

And that friend didn’t even have one; it was just a possibility she considered. Yet God used that phrase for me. Funny how he works.

In the film Ratatouille, the antagonist is Anton Ego, a tall poltergeist of a food critic. Having made a living knocking down the reputations of struggling restaurateurs, he brings pen and paper to yet another meal, planning to write notes right at the dinner table, only to find the food brilliant. He is so strongly reminded of his mother’s cooking, so overwhelmed by the exquisite taste of the dish, that he drops the pen and dives in.

That’s what I want to do.

Drop the pen with which I internally criticize. Dive into the grace that God is offering both me and everyone else.

I lamented, “God, I wish I had more of a filter.”

I sensed God replying, I gave you two filters. They’re called lips. Keep them pressed together and you won’t say stupid stuff. 

Perfect. God is giving us everything we need.

It also occurs to me that I’d like to be less hard on myself. Critical spirits are harder on nobody more than themselves. It’s Matthew 7:2 in action: “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” I’ve heard that both God and Satan will use that verse against us in different ways. I’d rather not be on the hook from either of them. I’d rather receive grace, and be known for my love.

Lord, you are so unlike me. Thank you for that. Some of my thoughts really just ought to go down to the grave with me. Take my critical spirit and replace it with one like yours.