The words stung like a knife. “How about if we all treat her to dinner to thank her for all the lovely ornaments she is letting us give out?” All the ornaments SHE is letting us give out? Are you kidding me? I contributed quite a few of those ornaments, and so did other coworkers. Why is SHE getting all the credit?
Reactions, perceptions, offenses, responses…What a difference words can make.
It was Christmastime and my coworkers and I were getting ready to go caroling at our local hospital. Along with singing the carols, we gave out ornaments to the patients to wish them a Merry Christmas and hopefully bring some cheer. Who wants to be in the hospital at Christmas, especially in a cancer ward???
It was a noble endeavor for us and we felt good about it, but then there were those ornaments. Someone had the idea for each of us to bring in ornaments from home that we no longer wanted and use them to give to the patients, as long as they were nice of course. We had tried making ornaments the year prior and they didn’t seem to hold up very well so we were looking for nicer ones but didn’t want to spend a lot of money to purchase them. It seemed like a good idea…. until SHE got credit for ALL of them!!
Well, at least it bothered me, but then maybe other people just weren’t bold enough like me to speak up; but was speaking up really worth the wrath that followed? I think not, now that I’ve suffered the consequences, and those consequences continued on for quite a while, and it even caused us to forego the caroling the following Christmas.
Thinking about Abigail’s response in 1 Samuel 25 when Nabal refused David’s request for food after watching his flocks, the way she immediately went before him in humility, showered him with food and gifts, intervened on behalf of her mean husband, makes me so wish I had responded differently in this situation. Makes me wish I had overlooked the comment the way Abigail overlooked her husband’s selfish responses.
Unfortunately, once the words are spoken from our mouths or put down in print, they are irreversible. The damage is done, and sometimes the effect cannot be undone no matter how hard we try.
We all want to live out a good testimony for the Lord, don’t we? But when we find ourselves taking offense to something someone said and reacting to it, we often tarnish that testimony. That is how I felt about what happened when I reacted about who was getting credit for those ornaments.
Humility. Not always an easy thing to carry out in our life. To be able to overlook an offense, to be able to let something go that really gets under your skin, to be able to truly leave it in God’s hands instead of taking into our own and lashing out…wow, what a struggle it can be!
But God is faithful! Let us always remember Proverbs 15:1, which says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Lord, help me to always use Your gentle answer and never my own harsh words. Help me to remember who I am in Christ and lead me in behavior and speech that reflects Your character, not mine.