Dragon breath sucks…no not the morning kind, the kind that comes in the form of words. Words that feel like evil fire spewing at you from the mouth of another person. So hot and thick that it actually leaves scorch marks.
I have stood face to face with this kind of hot evil breath, and as you may very well know, it does leave a mark. I will share with you the first one I remember, and the most recent one…there have certainly been more.
When I was a senior in high school I took an English class where we write for ten minutes a day. After we were done, the teacher would open it up to anyone who would like to share their writing with the class. As I was sitting with my classmates in a circle, one student decided to share. This girl was someone I had had a long and often dramatic friendship with, and we were currently in a strained season. As she began to read, it became clear that this day wasn’t going to be a good one. She read an open letter to me. I don’t remember too much, only that it was so full of hate and rage that it covered me in ashes. While she read her pages of hatred, tears were streaming down my checks as I sat staring at my desk. The moment she was done, the bell rang. No one moved. The teacher said, “Well, as I’ve said a thousand times, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” I was shaking and devastated. I made my way to the drama room (the safest place I knew) and stayed there all day.
“Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45
Most recently, I was in a situation where the hot and scorching breath of hatred came spewing at me, and taking out others in its wake. It felt as if it was happening in slow motion as I stood there processing the moment. I knew that what was coming at me was originating from deep wounds. There was no truth in what was being said so it was easier for me to see the nature of the attack. But, regardless of the nature or validity, the flames burned and have left marks.
I share these moments not to show how victimized I’ve been, but to acknowledge that I too have been guilty of dragon breath. As one with a propensity for words, I know they haven’t always been kind. There have been times when my words have cut to the core. I have spoken death instead of life. I have caused wounds and left scorch marks. While I hate to admit it, I’m just as guilty.
Dragon breath, is speech that comes from deep dark places of personal woundedness. Deep-seated issues like, anger, bitterness, pride, jealousy, self-hatred and shame are a few of the roots that fuel the fire that comes out of our mouths.
I’ve spent a lot of time working to heal my wounds so that dragon fire will no longer spew from me, and while I can say that there has been radical transformation, I am not perfect. I know that as a wife, mom, and friend, I have left marks that have left me ashamed and saddened.
Through my healing process, I have learned to control my tongue, check my heart before speaking, and commit to bring life through my words. But, while this may be my heart’s desire, and though my intentions are pure, I still fail. It’s so frustrating!
I want to be one who only speaks life, not death or fire. I want to be one who brings out the gold in others so they, in turn, begin to speak life, not perpetuate a cycle of pain. I will continue to heal and grow, but that doesn’t mean that I am safe from other’s breath. While there isn’t much beauty in these moments, I have leaned a few things.
The best response is not to match fire with fire. The best response is to remain calm, breathe in truth, and breathe out peace.
It doesn’t matter how “good” you are, there will always be people who find reason to hate you….ummm, remember what happened to Jesus?
You can control your tongue. It begins with examining your heart.
“When she speaks her words are wise, she gives instructions with kindness.” Proverbs 31:26 NLT
I extend an apology to anyone whom I have scorched. I am sorry for any burns I may have caused by my words. Please forgive me, and let the truth from the Lord wipe those scorch marks off you.
Joyfully covered in grace,