This week I have been following the development of two unrelated events in the news where criticism and judgement have been rife. It has been shocking to read the harsh comments posted that eventually became a fight between the readers who actually have nothing to do with the original event that was being reported on.
One voice stood out above all the comments I read, and it was written by a person closely involved in one of the events. His statement came from a place of deep thought and was written without throwing stones. I quote one sentence from his open letter: “The question is not should we stand up for what we believe, but it’s HOW we stand that is important!”. Yes, we should stand up for what we believe, but we are still called to further God’s Kingdom. As today’s scripture states, ‘mercy triumphs over judgement’.
Without going into the details of either of the events, the question that came to me was, “How am I reacting and what am I portraying through my words and my attitude?”. If I am not drawing people nearer to the Lord, then what am I doing? Even when something is completely against what I stand for, it still doesn’t give me the right to lash out at others in judgement and arrogance.
James 1:19-20 (AMP) gives us guidance as to how we should react: ‘Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving]; for the [resentful, deep-seated] anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God [that standard of behaviour which He requires from us]’.
Many things happening around the world and in our own lives are often really upsetting and completely the opposite of what we believe, but let’s learn to pour our hearts out to the Lord before we react. With the Lord’s help we can be speakers of carefully chosen words and not react from a place of anger and indignation.
The world needs to experience our loving, redemptive and forgiving Father. It’s about being in a relationship with our Father and living His grace and love to others. It’s about speaking the truth in love and growing in every way more and more like Christ (Ephesians 4:15).
Prayer: Dear Lord, so many times I have spoken without thinking. Please help me to bring my offence and hurt to You and to allow Your peace and wisdom to fill me before I speak to others. May my words be life-giving water to those who are thirsty for Your love and truth. Amen.
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