Preserve me from minding little stings or giving them.I read this prayer every morning, and for the last month or so this line has jumped out at me and taken root in my soul. Making me pay attention even when I really didn't want to. I was focused on the not "minding little stings," more than the "giving them." Trying not to listen to little stings aimed at me; to forgive when I felt them. I didn't really think about my giving them. Because I'm a nice person right? I try not to do or say those little stings that could hurt someone. This surely didn't mean me. But then something happened to make me look at this a little differently.
-From For Today prayer by Phillips Brooks, taken from Forward Day by Day
I was driving along, minding my own business, when the car in front of me suddenly slowed and turned right, causing me to hit my brakes rather hard and yell out, "Well, I guess that fancy, expensive BMW didn't come with turn signals." Rather benign, and they couldn't even hear me. So that's OK, right? I didn't give them a little sting. Agreed? And I'll admit here, between you and me... this wasn't the first time I've yelled this (or other snarky remarks) in my car. Or the first time I've muttered less than good things under my breath.
But this line kept coming into my head and I had a big realization. Yes, this is about giving little stings to others, in ways that cause them hurt. AND it is about the hurt and damage done to ourselves when we think them (or yell them inside our car). It is about the little stings we think about ourselves to ourselves.
It isn't just in the aloudness that hurt is done to others or to us. It is how we disrespect ourselves when we let that little sting into our hearts at all. It's how that seed of darkness and negativity takes root and then can run away with us - much more than we realize. Little stings can, well, sting. Little stings can grow big. Whether directed at others or at ourselves; by others or ourselves.
I pray, Preserve me from minding little stings or giving them. Yet, I am only human and in my humanity I will, in all likelihood, sling that little sting again. Being mindful is the first step in changing my heart. Repenting and asking for forgiveness is essential. Becoming the person God intends me to be means paying attention to my thoughts, as well as my words and actions - no matter which direction they are aimed.
So, to God, and the driver of the BMW, I ask for your Grace.