Sunday, 29 March 2020

Grace: The Text Message Not Sent

"Love covers a multitude of sins."
(1 Peter 4:8)

Good morning, friends; hope all is well in your corner of the world.

This morning I want to share an event that ruffled my feathers a bit. I won't bore you with all the details, but rather I'd like to focus on the peace that came to me afterwards.

In this particular event I came away feeling slighted and hurt by something that someone else had done. I suppose in retrospect that it wasn't really a big deal, but it sure felt like one at the time. I was annoyed, and ready for a little retaliation. No, nothing violent or illegal; just a simple little text message to complain to the perpetrator to let him know that I thought he was being a little bit of an ass in how it all played out. (Perhaps my tone in writing this sounds like my mood is still a little off; maybe it is, though I hope not).

Rather than retaliate, however, I took a step back. I needed a shower anyway, so that gave me the chance to also take the event to the Lord. What came to mind were these two verses:

"The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means that you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers." (1 Corinthians 6: 7-8; NIV)

Now in my situation, I certainly wasn't thinking of a lawsuit! Was I wronged? I thought so. Was I cheated? Again, I'd have to say, yes. However, if we really want to be honest with ourselves, there is nothing unusual about that. Ever since the fall of mankind, human history has a plethora of examples of the way we wrong and cheat one another. I guess this fact then begs the question, "Why am I surprised?"

Having said that, I'm glad that I took a step backwards and said nothing. If I had not, then there is probably a very high probability that my retaliation would have been equally bad, and the second part of the above Scripture, "Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers," could have applied to me. God have mercy!

Perhaps that is what Jesus meant when He said,

"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you." (Luke 6: 27-31; NIV)

Back to my ruffled feathers. The person in question was certainly not an enemy, and I know beyond the shadow of doubt that he does not hate me. I also know that it is very likely that he has no clue that I was even offended, and perhaps that's just as well. So why do I even bother mentioning any of this?

I mention this primarily as a Note to Self and as a personal reminder that things aren't always as they seem. Maybe, in my tired stupor, I completely misread the events. Maybe my responding could have created an incident where there really wasn't one before. Maybe my dear mother-in-law was right when, many years ago, she wisely counselled, "When in doubt, do nothing." Maybe in saying that, she was really paraphrasing Jesus. Maybe … (and the list goes on).

My friends, I have to confess that these sorts of things haven't always turned out this way. Unfortunately, I have often opened my mouth only long enough to change feet. This morning I just want to say how thankful I am, that even when I mess up and am unfaithful, God remains faithful. This morning I just want to say that I am thankful for having taken a step back and holding my tongue. This morning I just want to say how thankful I am for God's grace, and for the text message not sent. This morning I just want to say, Thank you Jesus.

Peace and blessings, friends; God is good.

"Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?"

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons

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