Have you ever been blindsided? Thinking everything is fine, all is well, and then someone comes at you and has a bone to pick with you? Their feelings are real, they are truly hurt by what they have perceived and want to get it off of their chest. But you, you aren’t prepared because you had no idea that anything was the matter. How will you respond?
Unfortunately, this has been happening in my life quite frequently as of late, and I believe if I do not change my initial response, I may just have to go around this mountain for 40 years. I am learning quite a bit by my reaction, and the Lord is teaching me so much through these experiences and I thought I could share with you.
When I am hearing from another person about how my actions have hurt or offended or upset them- my job is still to love. They are one of God’s precious children and deserve to be treated with respect and honor in every state, no matter what. What does my flesh want to do? It wants to protect me. I begin thinking quickly and in small circles of how I can defend myself from their offense and stop listening. I am then quick to speak and none of it sounds anything close to love because it is all about being right, all about self- protection. Love is actually no where on my radar because hurt, what that person was trying to communicate in the first place, is beginning to dictate. Now we go on the crazy cycle. You were offended and by sharing it with me, I get offended, and then I try to preserve and protect myself, now I am speaking out of my offense, and they get even more offended and begin to respond out of their now heightened level of offense. And from there, it just gets uglier and uglier and uglier until someone jumps off the crazy cycle and remembers about this amazing force called LOVE.
How can I choose Love to begin with? This is what I am learning. I am learning to be slow to speak, quick to listen, and slow to anger. I am learning to LISTEN. That means hearing out the heart of the situation, and trust me when you are “feeling” attacked, that is not easy. But what part of being a true Christ-follower is easy? Listen to the heart, while asking the Lord to help you hear the truth, help you to see them with the stamp, “Loved, Valued, Cherished Child of God,” on their forehead. Asking the Lord to help you respond with words that articulate value and honor to them, letting them know they have been heard. Instead of allowing conflict to destroy, I am learning that the Lord can use conflict to build up and heal.
Conflict is going to happen, and the enemy loves to bring this into your atmosphere when you are vulnerable. You are vulnerable in seasons where you are physically exhausted, mentally drained, or overwhelmed and stretched in many directions at once. He loves to kick you while you are down. Funny thing about our call to love though, it is not null and void when we are not on our A game, there is no clause saying except when you don’t feel like it. No, we are called to love God and love others always.
So here is what I am learning. This season of my life is one of much change, much new, and a lot of learning that I need to do in order to step into my next season, and there is a deadline of sorts on my horizon, which creates a bit of pressure. This is a season where I am vulnerable and easily overwhelmed. This equation of course means my enemy wants to swamp my boat, but simultaneously God is growing me and teaching me and strengthening my resolve. Praise God!
I am learning that now, more than ever, my quiet time with the Lord is imperative to me remaining in love. I am learning to pray ahead of time that in every circumstance, especially the unexpected ones, my first response would be love. I am asking ahead of time that supernaturally the Lord would cause me to be slow to speak, slow to anger, and quick to listen.
I’ve been contemplating how Jesus would look upon them, love them, and then He would respond. I am asking Him to help me follow His lead. Will you join me? We could change our world with this kind of love, respect, and honor!!!!!!!!!!
Lord, Thank You that everything our enemy intends for evil, You turn around for good. Thank You for revealing the cracks in my foundation and for showing me where I need to be strengthened. Lord, I admit my utter dependence upon you, I need you now more than ever before. Help me to supernaturally be slow to speak, slow to anger, and quick to listen. I trust You with my relationships and my response. Prepare me, use me, and bless everyone involved. I ask these things in the Mighty Name of Jesus, Amen!!!!!!
Mark 10:21 AMP
21 And Jesus, looking upon him, loved him, and He said to him…..
James 1:19 AMP
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry