The barrel of the gun loomed his direction ominously. He had faced many guns before this one and had learned to identify the marks of those who were comfortable killing with them. The finger always tightens around the trigger in a perfect mirror with the muscles in the corner of the eye. When the trigger is firmly squeezed, the eyes completely deaden of all emotion and compassion.
The gun roared like a wild animal and spat it's hot death with a hungry desire to consume it's prey. Standing as close as he was to the barrel, he felt the released gas from the chamber on his chest a micro second before he felt the impact of the molten lead. Looking downward to it's point of impact, he saw the lead mushroom out and fall harmlessly to the pavement.
This was no ordinary man taking the bullet intended for the person who hid behind him. This was Superman and the shooter would join the ranks with countless before who had learned that the attempt to stop the man of steel with a bullet was futile.
I am a comic book fanatic and nothing causes me to smile as I read a comic book like the scene that I just described to you. The picture is always so intense. A strong person standing up for the weak against a threat who would force their way with violence.
As a boy, I loved seeing this happen in the Superman movies and every time it did, part of me wanted desperately to be able to do that for other people. I wanted to be able to help and protect other people who could not stand up for themselves. (Waiting for Superman: Click Here)
As a boy I only knew the comic book type of danger.
When I grew up, I quickly realized that bullets come in many other forms.
They are not fired from a gun, but from a soul. They shoot out in the form of words and they are every bit as devastating as a lead bullet.
What makes words so deadly is their ability to bury themselves deep into another humans soul and they lay buried there slowly seeping out the infection of bitterness which can bring even the strongest person to their knees.
"Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!" ~ James 3:3-5
This passage is amazing because it graphically illustrates the immense power of our words.
In this passage we see the comparison of our tongue to a ship's rudder, a horses bridle and even a fire. These descriptions all bring to mind powerful things.
Words are so easy to fire off aren't they?
I want you to see the rest of the passage because what you will find is amazing. Words are only the bullets, they are not the gunmen.
The words that come from the mouth are only the bullets that are fired from the heart.
"And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh." ~James 3:6-12
This is one of the reasons why God allows testing in our lives. Testing brings us to the place where we can identify our flesh from our Spirit. Some of the testing we endure happens as a result of the words that are fired at us in a given day.
God uses circumstances (God's Phone Booths: Click Here) to help us learn to exchange what we settle for for who He made us to be. (Mr.Perfect:Click Here)
This is His perfecting process.
So this leads me to what I want to express in this post.
A few days ago, I was brought into a situation which I would have rather not been brought into. I given some information where I had been misrepresented and at first, I was irate. Really? They said this?
I sat down and began to compile my list of events and documentation into an e-mail that not only proved the previous information was false, but also shed light on the reason why this information was given falsely. I decided not to send the e-mail that day, but to just go home and send it in the morning upon my return to work.
The next morning I was in the middle of my workout and I noticed this picture to the left. It is a comic book cover, and one that I have framed in on the wall of my "Man Cave / Gym/ Art Studio". I love the picture because the Man of Steel is stopping a picture full of bullets!
I began to think about the thoughts I had as a boy, which I mentioned at the start of this post, and remembered how cool it was that Superman could stop bullets.
Then my gaze fell on a shelf I have below this picture. On the shelf I have several .9mm slugs I had picked up from a gun range years ago.They have been smashed flat by the impact against the bullet stop and they make cool "superman" decor.
I picked up those bullets and the Holy Spirit spoke.
"Dan, How could you ever expect to stop bullets from hurting others, when you have a difficult time taking a bullet."
Superman stopped bullets because he knew how to take a bullet. They crushed because of the internal armour he possessed. Many times, the words we are hit with are mean, and unjustifiable, but our response to those words is where the test is.
No one likes criticism and our first reaction is to lash out in defense, when our response should be to take the words and prove how strong His strength in us truly is.
"He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth."
~ Isaiah 53:7
Jesus showed us that this is possible through the power of the Holy Spirit.
"But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." ~ Romans 8:11
I got to work that morning and quickly deleted the e-mail that I was going to send. The truth is, what was needed more than a defense constructed in emotion was a person who knew how to take bullets as they fly. The strength of the armor was needing to be displayed.
People are hungry for God all around us and what they really need is to see Him displayed with power and grace. There are more important things than proving you were right.
Our response determines our future.
Climbing with you,