Life-Changing Images: Conversational Carnage

I’m not gifted with visions. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ve ever had a vision. What I have had, though, are a handful of really powerful mental images or pictures that the Lord has given me. They’re all so vivid and all of them have had such a profound, life-changing effect on me. Here’s one of them.

Sometime during my pastoral ministry, as I was teaching on the tongue, the Lord allowed me to see a heart-rending scene that has haunted me ever since.  In this scene I was a witness and bystander.  Two men were standing apart at a distance, as in a duel. One of the men pulled out a gun and summarily shot the other man in the head. As the wounded man fell to the ground, I ran frantically to assist him. As I sat on the ground and held him in my arms, I was crying and screaming. The man’s brains were spilling out of his skull. Blood was gushing out at a furious pace. I was rapidly becoming a bloody mess. But I was nowhere near as pitiful as the dying man who laid there, powerless to resist the inevitable reality that now faced him: he’d be dead within a minute. I felt so utterly powerless to save him. As I sat there crying, trying to comfort the dying man, the murderer, still at a distance, walked away.  He never saw—not close up—the carnage and bloodbath that I now held in my hands. He didn’t see the gory mess, he didn’t feel the pained emotions, that were a direct result of his pulling the trigger. He just shot and then walked away.

When we say an unkind word—a critical, judgmental, hateful word, a false accusation, an untruth, an unloving word—we are like the murderer. We just shoot at the mouth, then walk away without really seeing all the pain, suffering, and damage that our hurtful words inflict. Brethren, as long as you shoot and walk away, you never really know the full extent of the hurt and damage you’ve inflicted. And it’s what keeps you shooting time and time again. You can keep on shooting, keep on hurting, keep on killing, because you never really see what a wounded, dying person goes through after you’ve shot them. But when you as a murderer linger around, come up close, and see the damage for yourself, hopefully, you’ll change. Hopefully you’ll cry in anguish at the pain you’ve caused and the life you’ve taken. And, hopefully, you’ll change. Friends, we all have got to quit shooting and killing one another. We’ve killed too many people already. Ours is a ministry—not of death, but of life.  Put the gun away and help me bandage up the wounded. Together, let’s work to save a life. That’s what we’ve been called to do.


  1. Pam Cramer-Ozse said,

    June 23, 2010 at 3:17 AM

    This is a very inspirational, thought provoking & spiritual dream you had. It is something very true. I have found out personally, that, it only takes 1 minute to say hurtful words, but, it takes months & sometimes years to make it right with that person. Thanks for the deep insight!

    • gaylorddiaz said,

      June 23, 2010 at 7:06 PM

      Thanks for your true-to-life comment. I wish hurtful words didn’t take a whole lot of time to heal, but, sadly, as you noted, they do…And that really ought to give us pause and practice a lot more verbal restraint. I am not perfect in this area, but I am thankful for the restraint that I have–it has saved me and a lot of other people a lot of unnecessary hurt. Please accept my apology if I’ve hurt you in any way with my tongue.

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