Earlier this week I was the offender. I am totally being transparent here and by no means am I proud of my actions. My friend jokingly said something to me and honestly for no reason I snapped and said some hurtful and offensive words. She didn’t react but I could see in her face that she was hurt.
A man’s wisdom gives him patience
To make matters worse it was in a room full of people. I left that room and God instantly put me in check. He started dealing with my heart. Being human, of course, I wanted to be right and say she was wrong. However I knew I was in the wrong. When I saw her about an hour later I apologized. She is a very gracious person and forgave me. However I still needed to deal with the other people that I had offended by my actions. I sent out a group text and apologized for my actions.
Here’s where she modeled wisdom and chose to overlook my offense. In her response to my text she said “We all have our moments and I’m grateful for the abundant grace we’re all given”.
It is to his glory to overlook an offense
My friend not only had patience but showed grace by her actions. Anyone in that room would have thought that she was justified to at least say something but she chose to be silent. She demonstrated love and grace by her silence. Her response let us all see Jesus through her.
Reacting vs. Responding
So how does this verse apply to embracing everyday motherhood? Well, how many times do you get offended by your children? You know the perfect little angels that we carried for 9 months. We encouraged them to speak, little did we know they could use those words to hurt (offend) us.
Have your children ever said or done things that upset, hurt, or offended you? You can’t see but I am furiously nodding my head. They do things that are sometimes just kid things but we end up making a big deal out of it. Things that maybe are unintentional but we can’t look past the kid thing because we’re too busy thinking “I just mopped the floor” or “I just finished the dishes” or “Just take a bath”. Instead of overlooking the offense we lose our cool and blow up over spilled milk, leaving their backpack at home, forgetting their dance shoes, or getting distracted and not finishing a task. You get the picture. Do you react or respond when the offense happens?
Reacting is reflexive.
Responding is informed.
I’ll be honest, I was a milk spiller. To this day I still get reminded about how dinner wasn’t complete until I spilled my milk. Obviously I did it on purpose every time (please read that sarcastically). The reaction I received was the same every time, yelling and berating. My second son is my milk spiller and food dropper. He can verify this statement. I never yelled or berated him. Why? Because I know personally the damage that it caused in me. He never intentionally did it. I could have easily reacted and been offended, but I offered him grace and overlooked his offense. Honestly it’s been 11 years since the spaghetti story and we still laugh about it. I’m not saying I’m perfect, I mean did you read the story at the beginning? But I truly take a breath and choose to respond. My goal is to build a relationship with my children, protect their heart, and make home a safe place.
If you want to become a responder as opposed to a reactor, here are some ideas.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you pause or just to muzzle you if that’s what you need.
Get into the Word.
If there’s one thing I can guarantee, God’s word is where you find wisdom. If you don’t know where to start, read a chapter in Proverbs daily.
Take a time out.
In sports when they need to review a play, they use a time out. Go to your room, take a shower, take a walk, pray…just do something to interrupt the flow and reflect on what happened.
Proverbs 31:26 has become my new favorite.
“She speaks with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”
I want my children to say I was wise and kind. I want them to treat my grandchildren with kindness as well. So if I’m making it a bad day and feeling a bit reactive, then I think of this scripture.
Find the good thing.
If you blow it, because you will. Don’t park yourself there. Don’t beat yourself up. Be transparent, apologize and move on. Think about what you did well that day and think on that good thing (Phil. 4:8). Only you can control you!