Being the strong personality that I am, I have had this conversation with myself on numerous occasions. I have truly learned over time that just because what I have to say is the truth, how I say it will dictate how it is received. Recently as I was promoting this blog, I received a very nasty text message from a woman who thought it her duty and believed her right to challenge me on the fact that she felt I was reaching out to all to support my project but that I seemed to be missing in action when it came to supporting other people’s projects. Okay now the strong personality that I am I started to go “there”. Some of the first thoughts I had was, “how in the world did she know what I did or didn’t support?” Second thought I had was, “this is a free country, if you don’t want to support what I do, I am good with that. You don’t even have to respond.” These were the kinder things I thought that I felt comfortable sharing with you all. After I got over “it” I breathed deeply and then I exhaled. I understood this was an opportunity to be the change I want to see (quote by Ghandi). I knew that it didn’t matter where she was coming from, or what her reasons were for coming at my so distastefully, what mattered was how I responded. In life you should know and embrace this salient truth, while you can’t control the attitudes of others you can control yours. So instead of doing what was my right to do, Apostle Paul states, that it may be lawful for me to exercise my rights, but then questions is it expedient? In response to her stern reprimand I chose first to acknowledge kindly that I was and will always support other people’s projects, yet internalizing and owning the fact that even in this concession she had no power to redefine who I am or make me feel as though I am somehow this selfish person that she was insinuating I was. The reality is for all of us is unfortunately we can’t make it to everything we are invited to. Secondly I conceded that in the future I would endeavor to do better. Ha! End of her rant. What could you do after that kind of response? Exactly!!
So hence the premises you can get a lot further with honey than you can with vinegar. Many times we encounter situations that set our nerves to flame, ignites our anger, and fuels our disgust and yet what is the best way to handle all of those pent up emotions?
· Sometimes you need to get away and cry, scream, rant, fuss (not cuss), and then simply exhale. The worst thing you can do is respond in the heat of that emotion. Because remember this, once the tooth paste (your response) is out of the tube, it is almost impossible to put it back in (you can’t take back what you’ve said).
· Attempt to seek out internally what that individual might have been dealing with that caused such a violent reaction. Stephen Covey, the author of Seven Habit of Seven Highly Effective People states, “Seek first to understand then to be understood.”
· Consider what you would want someone to consider if by chance you went off in left field on them. Would you want grace or justice? Truth is we tend to want grace for ourselves and justice for others. We are admonished not to judge someone else harshly because if we fail to be gracious and merciful when (notice I said when and not if) we lose our sanity momentarily we will receive that same harsh judgment on our actions.
· Regardless of why someone did what they did endeavor to leave a positive lasting effect on them. Here’s the point, scripture reminds us that if your enemies are hungry feed them, if they are thirsty give them something to drink, and God will deal with their conscious and the consequences of their actions. We are also admonished to bless them that persecute you, bless and not cuss. We are told when your ways please God He will make you at peace with your enemies. So temper your response and choose your words wisely.
· Let it go! Once you have done those things let it go!! Don’t dwell on it or continue talking about it. Sometimes we hold on to things and we’re the culprit who robs ourselves of our own joy. The person who incited us has moved on and enjoying life, you on the other hand are reliving that incident over and over again.
· Do not hold a grudge when you see the person embrace them in your normal way.
These principles transcends the acquaintance, we should also be aware of how we speak to our spouses, our children, our co-workers, friends and families. The bible reminds us that it is the tongue that can build a home or tear it down. We must also be keenly aware of how we talk to those we don't know. For instance the waiter or waitress, the person on the road who is unkind, the individual in the department store, the faceless person on the phone who we are trying to handle business with, you get the point. Your words must always be laced with grace, kindness, temperance, and patience.
It is important for each of us to remember if we are truly to be the light of the world, the salt of the earth, an ambassador for Christ, a minister of reconciliation, an example for others to follow, we must reflect what the word of God says and our character must emulate His principles and His teachings. If we live a life and function based upon how we feel we will only push people away from Christ and by default prevent those from being drawn to the cross. If we truly want to be the change we need to see in this world, it must begin with us. If we can be nasty, unfriendly, and hostile, then at the same time turn around and say God bless you, the person on the receiving end would think and rightly so, who wants her God. Don’t hurt the testimony of Christ by responding as the world responds. When Christ was beaten, spat upon, ridiculed, and ultimately killed on the cross, the bible recounts his intercessory prayer for the people doing this, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. My, my, my what an example we have been given. The bible is not a recommendation but a road map as to how we are to live in every area of our lives. So remember a guarded, thoughtful, and calculated tongue will save and spare the hearts, spirits, and feelings of others.
This is excellent Angela..As I was reading at the beginning...I wanted to say "Who said that?" and "No they didn't!" I wanted to jump on the band-wagon and Protect you, but as I read further, I realized that you were right to acknowledge but to also not own it and not allow someone to define you.ReplyDelete
I find myself in the same predicament when it comes to supporting everyone. I used to try to go to everything, and all I got was a broke bank account, and drained energy. I pick and choose what I attend, and if I have the resources to support then I do so. There are so many worthy causes, and it is hard to choose sometimes.
My priority and first ministry is my children and their well-being. Since they take up at least 50% of my day, how can I ever put other activities in place of them. It will not happen.
You are an inspiration, and if the individual knew you personally, they would understand that you have a full plate. God Bless you and Be encouraged.
Yvette Porter Moore
Thank you so much for your comments Yvette. I think the important lesson as you obviously got was not allowing someone else to define you. Just like you I am clear as to who I am and what I do. You are also right that we can only support so much and maintain finances and sanity. Your first ministy is your home as you stated as it should be for everyone. Do I fear man or God? God? I do and go where God has me to go and I leave all the consequences to Him! Be Blessed, thanks for feeling the need to defend me :-))ReplyDelete