Kind Warnings

Kind Warnings

So by now, you’re probably wondering about the third word. Several weeks ago I wrote about three words that flashed through my mind one night, when I was nearly asleep. I wrenched myself awake to find a notebook in the dark. I didn’t understand what God might be saying, but jotted the words down anyway.

The words were BEMOAN, REDRESS, and RECRIMINATE. Thirty-six hours later, my bemoaning surfaced, and I cried my eyes out. Two days after that fitful episode, God redressed the issue through a dream. And that led to the significance of the third word.

one couple man and woman screaming shouting diputeRecriminate means to accuse somebody in return, a countercharge or retaliation.

One dictionary said “endless accusation.”

Bemoaning becomes recrimination if we fail to redress root issues. In other words, unresolved pain becomes a festering wound that triggers perpetual conflict—the rip-and-tear kind. Sounds like hell, right?

Years ago, I came across this quote on quarreling:

“As Christians we must of course repent of all the anger, malice, and self-will which allowed the discussion to become, on our side, a quarrel at all. But there is also the question on a far lower level: “granted the quarrel…did you fight fair?” Or did we…falsify the whole issue? Did we pretend to be angry about one thing when we knew… that our anger had a different and much less presentable cause? Did we pretend to be “hurt” in our sensitive and tender feelings (fine natures like ours are so vulnerable) when envy, ungratified vanity, or thwarted self-will was our real trouble?pouting woman

“Such tactics often succeed. The other parties give in. They give in not because they don’t know what is really wrong with us, but because they have long known it only too well. That sleeping dog can be roused, that skeleton brought out of its cupboard, only at the cost of imperiling their whole relationship with us. It needs surgery, which they know we will never face. And so we win, by cheating. But the unfairness is very deeply felt. How we should deal with it in others, I am not sure. But we should be merciless to (these tactics)…in ourselves.”

–C.S. Lewis, Reflections on The Psalms

He went on to say that dishonesty in conflict is “the most powerful engine of domestic tyranny, sometimes a lifelong tyranny.”

I can’t begin to explain how Lewis’s words affected me. They came as stark revelation. I understood what he meant. Still, over the years I succumbed to passive-aggressive behaviors at times when things got heated.

We live in a world of increasing recrimination. You hear the slinging back and forth on news channels over politics. You find it in divorce courts. It’s on radio talk shows and vicious comment exchanges on the Internet. It’s in the marketplace, and at school board meetings. It’s even on the playgrounds. We can turn off the TV, the radio, and the computer, but it doesn’t really eliminate the problem.

Recrimination is the ugliness of human nature splattered over all the good God intended for us.

So Sorry on beachGod brought up these three words to remind me how I want to live. I value “clean” relationships. No backlog of unresolved hurts. No game playing in conflict, but honesty and resolution. And most of all, God reminded me to both apologize and forgive.

“Forgiveness breaks the cycle. It does not settle all questions of blame and justice and fairness: to the contrary, often it evades those questions. But it does allow relationships to start over. In that way, said Solzhenitsyn, we differ from all animals. It is not our capacity to think that makes us different, but our capacity to repent and to forgive. Only humans can perform that most unnatural act, and by doing so, only they can develop relationships that transcend the relentless law of nature.”          –Philip Yancey

Take a moment and search your heart for any discontent. Write it out as a letter to God. Let Him redress it. Maybe He’ll give you a single word that will unlock something for you. Perhaps God will reply in a song on the radio, send a dream or a Scripture. He might ask you to forgive someone. Or apologize. Or speak truth in the right spirit to the person who’s hurting you. Watch for it. Remain attentive. And most of all avoid the pit of recrimination.

Share your story here…


  1. Nicola Jane Soen :

    Hi, This is profound. Thankyou for sharing. The timing is awesome. Now the hard work begins. May God grant me the grace to practise letting go of so many recriminations. To trust him for his vengeance and put down the revenge and ‘self’ defence, because the truth is, ‘self’ defence does not really keep me safe. It puts up a shield that not only opens the door to attack by the others ‘self’, but closes the door to Gods defence of me, because I am so busy doing it my ‘self’
    The real problem is I like the revenge and the anger and the ‘power’ it gives. I like the dark thoughts of ‘imagined’ conversation with those who have offended me. And to indulge in those, I have to turn away from God, because he is only found in reality, and not in my fantasy. To chose to be crucified into death of this-the giving up of my revenge, self righteous judgement, anger and all the pain behind it is actually (sorry!) Crucifying in itself-and meant to be so. How strange. I only realized in our preach at church today, that that is what we actually die to, the choices we love to make without God. And how hard it is for me to give that up. How I hate trusting that God WILL do it, especially when I would enjoy to do it myself!! To find that I prefer this self that stands apart from God-and chooses to act AS God, rather than to find comfort in him and let go of the poison in myself. But I am now aware there IS a small part of me that now can see that this sin is heavy and hard and that actually I don’t want to do this anymore. Thats great its there now, but when the temptation comes to run to the revenge etc again, I hope that my real self will run the other way to God with his solutions, his authority.

    • When God speaks a word, it is so potent with meaning, and love, and power to unlock the entrapments and webs of the enemy. I am so blessed to glean so much from three single words. I know you all can hear Him too. Just ask and then listen…

  2. i am thanking god for you so much right this minute.

    suzee B