I think thorns must exist in every environment. Sharp. Prickly. Spiked. Hooked.
Some are obvious in their danger, with a red warning flush reaching up the sharp spine, impossible not to notice even at first glance, while others are so tiny and delicate, a person is often oblivious to them until too late.
The wise gardener guards against all thorns with a pair of good gloves. Different kinds of gloves are widely available, heavy leather, a sturdy canvas, or reinforced cotton; all provide different levels of protection. This is the best defense.
But often, a thorn can make it past all precautions and prick the skin. A shallow cut or a deep cut, sometimes thorns become embedded and require a careful removal and cleaning of the sight of the wound. Some thorns, by nature, contain bitterness, a slight poison which increases the risk of infection. Like any wound left untended, there can be complications from the bite of a simple thorn, leading to all sorts of maladies, physical reactions like swelling, itching of the wound sight, soreness and puss; infection can even lead to death if ignored long enough.
Words can be like thorns. People plant them in their relationships, sometimes on purpose, often unknowingly. Scattered and thrown on the wind to see what they can catch and prick, lining the stems of blooming compliments, hidden in the viney pathways of conversations. There are thorns everywhere.
The wise person guards against thorny words with awareness, ignoring them completely instead of letting them catch the tenderness of the spirit, letting them fall to the ground instead of piercing deep. Ignored prickly words will just evaporate without an echo as the worthless things they are; this is the best defense.
But we are not always equipped with our best pair of heavy leather gloves and hurtful words come at us unexpectedly. Some words just scratch, but it is a small scratch that heals quickly without much attention. The sharper words pierce, and this takes more action. A cleaning and disinfectant may be required. Some short attention must be given to the wound for it to heal. Like any wound left untended, there can be complications from the bite of a word, leading to all sorts of maladies: fear, anger, bitterness, and hate; infection can even lead to death if ignored long enough.
Today I choose not to focus on the person who spoke the hurtful words. I will look first to the wound. Find the thorns that were inflicted, and remove them.
I find grace and healing in the eyes of Christ. My Savior knows who I am, and sees clearly. Like gloves, he protects me and gaurds against sores. Unlike gloves, He can find and heal any wounds when I forget to put on the protectors He daily provides. The Holy Spirit will minister to my wound with a gentle and honest touch. Whatever truth He finds in the hurtful words, He guides me though and teaches me a new lesson, blesses me with growth in my character and my spirit; whatever lie there is in hurtful words, my Lord will reveal it, healing me through His love. The Holy Spirit will guide me through forgiveness, help me not to hold on to the hurt, prevent the infection of bitterness, and rid my mind of any harm.
Next time I forget my gloves in the garden, I will remember to clean the wound.
Like the child who pricks himself on the thorn of a rose bush and runs to his mother for healing instead of accusing the rose bush of striking him, I choose to run to my Lord for healing, instead of accusing the one who hurt me with careless words.
There are thorns everywhere and Christ is my best defense against them.