When I was first married my hubby and tried something that many married couples do; we got honest. We sat down and shared the things that each of us found frustrating about the other and as they say- the truth hurts.
Being honest sounds like a healthy thing to do right?
Wrong. The result was not fun. I was crushed, I’m sure he felt the same and there was something that just felt so wrong about the whole thing.
The problem with identifying peoples faults and speaking them out is that it causes us to focus in on them, we lose perspective and forget all that we have to be thankful for.
Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. (Romans 12:14)
God never sits us down and points out all of the things we need to change. He draws out the best in us; more like a coach on a kids’ soccer team- running beside us encouraging us and drawing out our potential. He points out what we do right and shows us our next step. He sees us through Jesus’ sacrifice. And so, it seemed right to us that we would attempt to see each other and the ‘others’ in our world the same way. Needless to say it is a journey that continues to unfold.
The way I choose to do ‘honesty’ with the people close to me looks so different these days. There are some things that I have decided simply not to focus on. It’s not denial, it’s a matter of perspective. Christian maturity understands that the words we speak carry weight.
We are created in the image of God. His words created our world and our words can create and shape the world we live in. We can speak bigger problems into existence or we can speak solution and grace into a situation.
With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth! (James 3:10)
There is life and death in the power of the tongue. (Proverbs 18:21)
Whether I am speaking to my spouse, my children, or the person that has just cut me off in traffic I want my words to bring life, to be consistent with the praise that I bring before God. (Now that challenge is enough to last for a lifetime!)
Oh that our hidden life of worship would match the worship we chose to display.
To include our friends and family under the same banner as ‘those who persecute you’ could be a long shot but, so often I find that we want to do the right thing for others but we neglect those closest to us. If we can get it right on our own doorstep we have a lot more chance at taking it to the streets.
Perspective is a key in this area. In my last blog ‘what is a miracle anyway?’ I posed the question: What is more of a miracle- that God changes our circumstance or that we are changed and can handle the circumstance differently?
Our perspective is changed when God reveals something new to us, we approach the same situation with different eyes. We can be totally frustrated with someone then learn their story and suddenly frustration dissipates and we are filled with grace and compassion.
In our meander though Romans 12:14 we are asked to bless and pray for those who curse us. It’s pretty straight forward and worth giving a go.
Next time someone cuts you off, forgets to take the bin out or any other myriad of reasons we have to be annoyed with someone- try blessing them. Take the time to pray for God’s best for them without any agenda. Watch how quickly your heart changes.
Perhaps the little niggly things that are currently bothering you and I are really just reminders to pray, to bless, to look for good in others and draw out potential.
What persecution are you currently facing that you might view differently with a bit of heavenly perspective?
One of the most challenging and inspiring stories I have read is included below. Have a read it’s inspiring.
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In his well known book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Stephen Covey refers to changing perspective as a paradigm shift. He writes: