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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

"Man Up!" - Making the Right Comment



When I awoke this morning I looked into the mirror and observed that my right cheek was swollen as was the area under my right eye… but I had no pain!  Okay… let me backtrack a bit here… Yesterday I had the pleasure of having two teeth pulled!  I cracked a tooth last week while biting down into a piece of pizza which made it painfully difficult to chew so my new dentist (where our daughter just happens to work) checked it out and set me up with another doctor to pull the tooth and the remains of the one next to it.  I was actually surprised how quickly it went, although I had a fair amount of pain last night.  But after taking a couple of the pain killers they prescribed, I drifted into a spacey wonderland and had a good night’s rest!

Yesterday’s activities are the second step in our plan to finally get my teeth fixed!  They have needed some attention for years, but I never had time to think about it with everything going on with my wife’s needs.  But NOW is the time and I am looking forward to being able to smile without being embarrassed!

And speaking of being embarrassed… have you ever said something without much thought and then regretted it?  I used to pray that I could have the ability to quickly come back with witty responses to the things that people have said to me, but alas… I am a thinker and usually have to spend time thinking and in research before I feel like I can adequately respond to someone’s words.  I can though, recall a few times in my past when I did come back with a silly comment and to this day, still wish that I had kept my mouth shut!

In Philippians 1:9-10 the Apostle Paul prays “that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, (so) that you may (be able to) distinguish between things that differ and that you may be sincere and without offense until the day of Jesus Christ.” (NASB/MKJV)  As I first read this the other day, it dawned on me that Paul was talking about the same thing that I just mentioned above!  He seems to be making the point that our intimate knowledge of Godly love is the key to responding in the proper way when speaking to others.

I have become painfully aware of people’s off-handed remarks over the last few years in my wife’s and my journey concerning her health needs.  Different people’s quick retorts have made me angry or frustrated at their lack of discernment.  At times I have been quite surprised and shocked with the reality of what they just said to me!  At other times I have also found myself laughing at the utter comedy of their comments or at how totally opposite their conclusions are to the real truth of the matter at hand.  

I think the most difficult times for me though, has been when comments are made that make me embarrassed for the individual who is speaking the words as they seemed to be living in their own little world without a clue to the impact of their words and the various life situations that people have been through.

As I thought about all this, I suddenly had the revelation that being able to come back with a quick reply or witty retort is NOT necessarily a good thing! I have come to appreciate being able to take a few moments to hear from the Lord before I make a comment!  I’ve also learned that sometimes the best reply is NO reply… that keeping my mouth shut is the best course of action!

Over these last few years I have argued with myself thinking that “I should have said this or that” in order to prove myself right and them wrong!  But then I realize that if I had said it, that it would have made the situation escalate into a downward spiral.  I see Jesus as the peace maker and not the one always having to have the last word on things!

I am beginning to know that my greater responsibility is to pray that the folks who continually demonstrate a lack of discernment will come to a place of hungering and thirsting for an intimate knowledge of God’s love so they can, according to the S. Way translation of the letters of St Paul, “remain untainted by error, unstumbling amidst obstacles, till the day of Messiah’s appearing.”

I think that the Lord is teaching me that just as my lovely wife always had a knack to turn an experience into a homeschool moment for our kids, that I can do the same by turning unpleasant words spoken by others into a God-school moment for all involved!  For I can now understand that without an ever-increasing intimate knowledge of His love abiding in you, your discernment will be questionable, undependable and without a firm foundation.
I can also see that without this “present” kind of love these folks have little hope or expectation, they find it difficult to be joyful and therefore possess faltering physical, emotional and spiritual strength.  They find that they have little to rejoice about and much to complain about!

Is this the way that you want to be?  It’s not the life I want for my wife and myself!  Instead I find myself confessing over us both morning and night… and many times in between, that “The joy of the Lord is our strength” and that “A merry heart doth good like a medicine… in us!” (See Nehemiah 8:10 and Proverbs 17:22)

So my encouragement is to be aware of what you say and take a moment to hear from the Lord before you say something that you might live to regret!  Have a great weekend and as you do, keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting to say that will bless others today?”

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