Thursday, June 17, 2010

Storms and the aftermath

It is summer - hot, sticky, Midwest summer. The humidity rises. Storms pop. And it is summer. You can have a terrible storm at one moment - hail, damaging wind, lightning, perhaps even a tornado - and then, as quickly as it arrives, it is gone and the sun breaks out, the rainbow shines brightly in the sky. And you wonder, was it really as bad as I thought? Did that really happen?

That is the way it is with a lot of things in life - something happens and we wonder about it. An argument in the family. It shatters the calm of the household, breaks rapidly, builds to a crescendo and then is gone. There may be some broken dreams or hurt feelings left in its wake. But then you stop and wonder, "Was it really worth the storm? Did it matter so much that I lost my temper over it?"

Sorry but my thoughts are rambling. I guess it fits since this is all about my random thoughts. I learned something that I knew already but perhaps had forgotten (not really but it just sounds good to say I forgot it). In the midst of the storm of relationships - personal, family, work, church - we need to be aware of how we act and what we say. The very way that we say something can hurt someone else - even if we don't intend it to be that way. As God's children, we need to watch our tongues. Once it is out of our mouths, we can't get it back. Don't you hate that? Especially when what you said is not really the truth and you were just saying it to hurt the other person? Ugh! Then you can't take it back. You can't gather it up. The damage is done.

But I also learned that there is another side to that topic. All right, so you are hurt by what was said. What do you do? Sulk? Get mad? Get even? Attack? Run away? As God's children, we are called upon to go to that person who hurt us, and talk to them. Let them know that we are hurt. Explain why we fell like we do (not in a way that we attack them and hurt them, that is just as wrong), and then we give them a chance to apologize. Will they or won't they? You don't know. That isn't for you to worry about. If you don't give them a chance, you will never know. And if they do, then forgive them! Yes, forgive them. (That means you let it go, remove it from between you and NEVER bring it back up. Ouch! That is the hard part, isn't it?) If they don't apologize, you have reached out as the Lord has guided you to do. Perhaps you should let them know that they need to consider their actions before God. (Don't go saying, "You are going to be damned for not apologizing! You are going to hell for that!") Then you leave that between them and God. You are not God. You are not the Judge. You are not the one in charge. Remember that!

Too many times we hold onto things and don't talk to the right people. Oh, we talk about it all right. We go to those that we know will agree with us, with our point of view, and we tear the other person down. How unfair is that? It might be easy. It might be a way to avoid confrontation, but it is still wrong, a sin, not acting as God would have us act. Man, this is getting harder to read (also harder to write!). Why does the Spirit have to speak to me in this way? Because that is how He wants it. He wants Christians to leave together in true peace - found only in Jesus Christ, in the life He gives, in the love we are to follow, in the forgiveness that is bestowed upon me and upon each other.

Summer storms are coming - again. They always do. Storms are going to happen in your life. When they do, how will you react? In the love of Christ? Or in the selfish, self-centered, sinful way of the world?

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