September 4, 2018Calmness Changes Courses
An offense can take us down paths we were never meant to follow. Our response to an offense can change the result of our situation, good and bad. Let’s resolve to extend forgiveness as we have so graciously received it.
If the anger of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your place, for calmness will lay great offenses to rest.
-Ecclesiastes 10:4 (ESV)
When we can lay aside our own reactions and negative responses and meet offense and anger with calmness, we can change the course of any negative situation. Abigail took a very hostile situation, met it with extreme calmness and stopped an escalating war.
And David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! Blessed be your discretion, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodguilt and from working salvation with my own hand! For as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, who has restrained me from hurting you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, truly by morning there had not been left to Nabal so much as one male.” Then David received from her hand what she had brought him. And he said to her, “Go up in peace to your house. See, I have obeyed your voice, and I have granted your petition.” (1 Samuel 25:32-35).
We hold that kind of power when we respond in God’s love and not our own hurt. Every time we respond to offense, we have the ability to choose our reaction, which will determine the result. The result determines whether or not we release the purpose of God or more pain in our life. This reaction is a part of our everyday life from small moments to more painful betrayals. How we respond to the minor offenses will determine whether we are prepared to respond with love in the more significant ones. Of this truth, I have to remind myself daily. My instinctive reaction to conflict leans more on the side of impulse as opposed to intention. (I feel relatively sure when my husband reads this confession, he will look at me with that side-glaring stare and say, “Uh huh!”)
Daily I need to remind myself to meet these moments with calmness. Opening my heart to God before opening my mouth to the person starts in my home with my husband and children. My deference to others continues to the person who cuts me off on the road or in the grocery checkout line, extends to the best friend who betrayed my trust or the spouse who told a lie. Let this be our prayer.
Father, give me the strength to respond with calmness, grace, and love when I am faced with hurt, anger, and offense. Help me to extend mercy in the midst of pain. Let my reactions be much like Abigail’s, showing the very character of Christ to those who have offended me. Help me not to let my emotions and feelings get the better of me but to extend grace.
Because we have received God’s grace we can extend the same to other’s whether we feel they deserve it or not. The actual definition of the term is “unmerited.” Choosing to remain calm rather than reactionary includes the undeserving, unmerited times as well.
I guarantee the more we remain calm in situations, the more our outcomes in those situations and life will dramatically change for the good. God has extended grace to us so that we may extend it to others. The more we extend grace instead of simply reacting in offense, the more we open the door to God’s purpose.
Dear ones, we need to come boldly and with confidence to the throne of grace daily that we might experience more of His mercy, removing our own stain and guilt, freeing us from holding offense against others. Then we will walk in forgiveness. Extending forgiveness rather than finding faults in others releases us from offense.