Proverbs 15:1-3 (KJV) -- A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness. The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
Have you had someone criticize, or snap at you, lately? Feels great, right? Did you run right over and thank the offender for helping build your Christian Character? No? Me either! My gut reaction is to give back as good as I got.
In such situations, I want to tell someone off, defend myself, and loudly explain my side of the story. I yearn to point out their blame, recap how lucky they are to know me, and educate them not to discourage or demean me. I long to yank out my best vocabulary list, select just the right words, and “put them in their place.” Anybody else ever feel that way? Please raise your hands! Let’s use our imaginations for a couple minutes… Play along!!!
Really! Go ahead and raise your hands! You feel a little weird raising your hands all alone in front of your computer? That’s OK! Just pretend I am there with you; I think I am beginning to see your hands! Go on – use your imagination too! See, I’ve given you a little nod of encouragement; now, you nod back. Come on now, not much longer, stay with me...
Now, pretend we recognize each other, we smile (tentatively at first), then we realize that we share a unique bond (and the smile grows stronger). You know, we really do share a special bond!
We are all God’s beloved, imperfect, creation. He loves all of us (collectively) and He wants each of us (individually) to be “born again” into the family of God, through the life-giving sacrifice His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, if you thought it kind strange that I would ask you to pretend that I was there with you; and if you thought it a yet little stranger still that I kept at it for the better part of two paragraphs, please consider this...
God really is right there with us all the time and everywhere we go. He knows us! He knows our thoughts, our actions, our motives, our attitudes, and our dreams. Furthermore, God loves us; He is not always very proud of the way we behave; but He always loves us.
God wants us to be our best, and do our best, so that others can see the difference He makes in our lives. If others see how much God loves us maybe they will know and understand how much He loves them too.
I have to admit it; my gut reaction usually makes such situations worse. There are very few occasions when a mouthy, over reaction, stuns the person who hurt me into apologizing. Truly, more foolishness on my part just fans the fire and heats up the hard feelings. Moreover, it may just confirm the notion that I was worthy of criticism in the first place. So what am I to do?
I am to demonstrate the same love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness to others that Christ demonstrated to me when He died to cover my sins. Our actions may be the only Bible that some ever read…
My prayer for today… Dear Lord, Help me to be still and to think before I speak. Help me remain calm in adversity, and remind me forgive rather than retaliate when others hurt my feelings.