“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:14-15 NIV
A few years ago a neighbor questioned my value in a role I played - and my honesty. I was completely caught off guard. I barely knew her and had never talked to her about the issue.
I fumed! Righteous indignation doesn’t begin to describe my attitude.
As time went by, I mellowed and she acted like it had never happened. Then came a point where we would interact regularly and those feelings resurfaced. Before long, a life-changing event occurred in her family, her husband was diagnosed with cancer. When she came by the next time, I offered to pray with her and she accepted.
In light of the turmoil her life would experience the next year, I let go of all the ill feelings I had harbored. Or at least I thought I had.
Fast forward another year or two of relative calm – and then out of the clear blue, over the phone, she makes a similar snarky remark to the original one.
I wish I could say that my initial feelings were different, alas my defenses were up and my thoughts were not sweet.
Then I remembered her husband and thought to myself, “What might she be going through that I don’t know about?”
Calm flooded over and I released this person from any perceived debt of apology I thought she might owe.
Why? Because I remembered Jesus, stripped and bleeding and in agony and saying ‘Father, forgive’.
I may be offended at times, but how I react will show Who I follow. For us, this will be a lifelong pursuit of trying to get it right.
Yet stopping long enough to realize the offense may be launched out of a place of hurt, slows me way down and helps me extend a little grace. And find a little peace.
Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” John 14:27a. As His ambassador, that is what I want to leave with others even in the midst of conflict.
If I don’t give His peace, then I won’t live in it either.
So whether it’s a family member, friend, or total stranger, let’s try to make blessing a priority, grace giving an attitude, and peace leaving a legacy.
Father, Words cause a lot of pain and wreak a lot of havoc in our lives. Teach us how to listen with Holy Spirit ears instead of easily offended ears. Help us think first what the other person may be going through. And lead us to leave behind blessing instead of cursing, not only in our words but in our thoughts. Only You can help us accomplish this task. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
For more encouragement, visit Paris at http://parisrenae.com
© 2017 by Paris Renae, All rights reserved.
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