When we have an issue or problem with another, have you ever noticed how much easier it is to go to anyone but that person? We can so easily turn each other into table talk as we pour another cup of coffee and dissect each other’s issues, all while leaving the person at the center out of the whole thing.
While this is an area I prefer to keep at a wide berth today, I know every single one of us has been guilty of having these conversations at one time or another.
“He drives me crazy!”
“She is such a drama queen. It is pathetic!”
“I don’t believe him. I don’t believe a word he says.”
“She just wants attention again. What a train wreck.”
“She is ridiculous! Did you see what she posted on Facebook?”
“He is such a loser. What does she even see in him?”
“I cannot stand that guy! Ugh!”
“She is such a liar! Don’t even get me started.”
“She is crazy. What do you expect?”
There are those who are very proud of all the bones they pick and they enjoy inviting people to join them. I have known people who will be your best friend while in the midst of table talk, yet turn on you the moment they are at the table having coffee with someone else. When we invite others to join us in judging another as we pick at their bones, we are participating in an activity with heavy spiritual ramifications, whether we are aware of it or not.
The whispers, the nudges, the exclamations, the silent treatments, the eye rolls, the side-eyes, and the accusations all lead to one thing; division. The ‘behind the back’ behavior does and will cause division and hurt, even if the effects are not immediately noticeable. There are also those times we march right up to someone and boldly just start picking a bone, without giving pause to consider what we’re saying or doing.
It happens in families, it happens between friends, it happens at church, and it happens in the work environment. Everyone has something to say about someone else and bones to pick at.
We even have a lot to say about ourselves and to ourselves. Some might feel a little too secure in their own ego, while a lot of us are picking at our own bones relentlessly with an attitude of cruelty. Whether we are picking the bones of another or ourselves, it reminds me of the behavior of vultures.
Bone-picking is, at its root, hateful and a source of spiritual death. What comes out of our mouths says volumes about what is happening in our hearts, in those places others cannot see. But, God sees it and He is definitely paying attention to it.
“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”
That verse puts the fear of God into my heart like no other verse in the Bible can. That one, simple verse has me examining my own heart and mind on a daily basis. I don’t always like what I come up with, either. I dig up attitudes that need to change. I see curse words that have made a comfortable place on my tongue so they can slip out before I have a chance to stop them. I see mindsets that are not calibrated and set on love, old resentments lingering, and hurts I was supposed to have forgiven. I even come across attitudes toward God that need to be readjusted.
I had an incident earlier this week where I responded to something with a lengthy dissertation and sent myself on a crazy, wild-goose chase about my own unresolved issues, personal triggers, and where I actually stand with some things. I acted like a vulture and picked at myself relentlessly. Next time, I may err on the side of caution a bit better and just back away slowly as I invite God to examine my mind and my heart first.
I have picked at so many bones in my lifetime, I have a pile of dead, dry bones just sitting there and it is a dismal sight. And, my own bones have been picked at and picked on enough. I am tired of the vultures circling overheard, just waiting for a fresh bone to gnaw on.
I began to pray about the valley of dry bones in my life; the old grudges, the hurts, the judgments, the unkind words, the unresolved issues, and all of the bad attitudes.
It reminds me of Ezekiel 37:4-5:
Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. “
How many times have we wished we could take back something we’ve said or undo something we’ve done? How often have we wished that certain things had not happened to us or that we could just erase the impact those things have had?
Personally, I would rejoice to see all of those old bones come back to life. Our God is a God of redemption so, while what happened yesterday isn’t going to magically disappear, what happens from here on out can be something brand-new.