Slightly Obsessed #082 "When the Problem Isn't the Problem" (Wednesday Devo) by Pamela Thorson on 2014-09-10 12:10:22
Do not use a hatchet to remove a fly from your friend’s forehead. – Chinese Proverb
You know it’s happened to you.
That person in your office or your class constantly needles you. He cajoles you into taking on more of the work he’s supposed to be doing. She repeats gossip about you to people you respect and admire under the guise of asking for prayer. Or they both offer copious and unsolicited advice on every decision you make.
Day after day, their irritations buzz around you like a persistent fly. You swallow down the anger that ferments in your throat, smile, and tell yourself you are doing the Christian thing to bite back the urge to speak up. You seethe in silence.
Then you have a bad day. An innocent remark, or a minor disturbance, finally pushes you over the edge. You lash out. Finally, you let them have it. The shocked faces of the people caught in the crosswind tell you that you have just had a major over-reaction.
Sometimes, it’s even worse. Sometimes you have just smashed a hatchet into the forehead of a friend.
So what do we do when an iceberg of trouble lurks under the surface of our relationships? Most of us grew up being taught to “turn the other cheek.” It’s true that this is God’s command of how to respond in the face of an attack. But Jesus never walked away from speaking the truth, in love, to those with whom He came in contact every day. It’s healthy and more respectful of others to face an issue before it has grown into a full-blown disaster.
I, too, am learning from painful experience, how to dodge the icebergs of disaster on the tumultuous sea of relationships. Here are a few tips I’ve discovered in my own journey:
• Draw reasonable boundaries around your personal and professional life and refuse to let others cross them. If you gently pull someone back at their first step into forbidden territory, it’s so much kinder and easier on both of you.
• Give to others the respect and honesty you want from them. If you have shared gossip about others, it smacks of hypocrisy to be shocked when they share gossip about you, too.
• Pray for them. Pray for those who despitefully use you. - Luke 6:28 Resist the urge to turn a prayer session for them into a mental replay of all their sins against you.
• Live in grace. The word grace means “undeserved favor.” Favor is a gift bestowed on the undeserving. It helps to remember that we, too, are undeserving. We live in a fallen world. People will fail us, just like we fail them and God.
• Focus on the good traits in those around you. Let them know you appreciate these traits. You might be surprised how much that changes their attitude toward you.
• Respond, don’t react. When a problem looms on the horizon, don’t ignore it. It’s so much easier to address an issue before you invest so much emotional energy in it that you can’t be impartial or fair in your response.
As long as we live on this earth, our relationships with others will be an ongoing learning process. But with the Spirit of God living inside us and leading us, we can be the extension of His grace instead of condemnation, to those with whom we share this moment in time.
About Pamela Thorson:
Pamela Thorson is a licensed practical nurse, author, and full-time caregiver. She pioneered in the homeschooling movement from 1982-2006 and authored her first book, Song in the Night, in 2008. She resides in the Northwest with her family.
Slightly Obsessed #192: Heaven Is Calling: Consider Jesus
Some days we can barely hear it. Other days it drives us to our knees. But it’s always there; that persistent tug in our souls. Whether we trudge through our days or chase the stars of fame and fortune, we can’t drown out the cry that sounds silently in the pit of our being, jarring us with its urgency and moving us with its tears.
No matter what you may be going through in life, I want you to know that God's grace is sufficient for you. You may have messed up, you may have failed, you may have gone the wrong direction, you may have gossiped, or much worse, but God wants you to know that it does not define who you are. He does. He and His grace is much more powerful than anything you might have said or done. Grace always shocks. It always amazes, and it always stuns. Grace is what we all need. It's what everyone groping around lost in the darkness needs to know.
Slightly Obsessed #191: You Can Give Others the Gift of Courage
My father lay propped up in the hospital bed, his face ashen against the white sheets. My step-mother and I huddled around him in the cramped space of the progressive care unit in which he was recuperating. He had suffered three heart attacks in the space of one month. None of us had gotten much sleep in the last few days. So far, we had seen little of either the hospitalist in charge of his care or the cardiologist on staff.
Slightly Obsessed #190: A Warbird’s Lesson
On a recent hot July day, we took in an air show in our town. Vintage planes, including a couple of impressive old warbirds, sat majestically on the tarmac for inspection as we darted from wing to wing to find relief from the withering heat.
These planes are still operable, so although some of them were open for people to walk through, the cockpits were off-limits for obvious reasons. No one wanted a tragedy to happen because an unauthorized person tampered with the controls. People who don’t know what they’re doing shouldn’t be in control.
Slightly Obsessed #189: The Calling
The sound must have been a maddening echo that haunted him at first, tormented by the rooster’s crow that mocked his empty proclamation of loyalty. For three days, his faith lay in the grave with the Savior’s body, darkened by the memory of his public desertion.
Slightly Obsessed #188: Freedom
He was shouting “Freedom” as he plowed his car at twenty-one miles an hour into the granite monument engraved with the Ten Commandments.
A video posted on the suspect’s Facebook page depicted the man in his car facing the monument as a women’s voice, presumably on a car radio, asked, “Where do you go when you’re faced with adversity and trials and challenges?”
Release Date: July 28, 2017 Reviewer: Andrew Funderburk Rating: 4 stars
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