When was the last time you had a good hearty laugh? Sometimes a good joyful laugh is the right medicine for the sticky situations of life!
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Colossians 3:13 – NIV
Buckets of dwarf azaleas lay near his feet, the shovel gripped tightly in his hand. He was staring at me with that look, and my 25 year old self was staring right back at him.
Perhaps you know that look. It’s the look one spouse gives another when being told what to do. It’s that look that says, “Really???”
Shovel in hand, he had a plan for the planting. But so did I, and his plan was not my plan!
Hands on my hips, instructions flowed from my lips. He thrust the shovel into the tilled soil, and glared at me, words of frustration spewing from his lips. “You know, nothing’s a good idea unless it’s your idea.”
Blinking hard, I started to defend myself, but took a deep breath instead, letting his words sink in. My pursed lips gave way to a quiver, and then to a smile, followed by a chuckle that became a hearty laugh. The joke was on me. I gazed at my dear husband and grinned, guilty as charged. “Yeah, it’s true. Nothing is a good idea unless it’s my idea.”
How about you? Does this encounter of the spousal kind sound familiar? Have you ever received “that look”?
It strikes me today that we are living in an age where nothing is ever a good idea unless it’s, wait for it, “my idea.” The air waves are full of blaming, shaming and name calling. We seem to be long on speaking, and short on listening.
Underneath all our stares, glares and spewing words is the unspoken message, “I’m right, you’re wrong.” We’re not interested in other’s thoughts and ideas, only our own.
Our human tendency is to say, “I am right, you are wrong.” But the truth is that God is right, and when we fail to follow him, we are wrong. What does it mean to follow him? Micah 6:8 offers the key to following God.
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8, NIV).
First of all, “Act justly.” Treat your neighbor as yourself. Treat them how you want to be treated.
“Love mercy.” To love mercy is to forgive others as you have been forgiven. If we want God to forgive our sins, we need to forgive those that have sinned against us. If we don’t think we have sinned, well, perhaps that’s where our problems begin. The Apostle Paul tells us quite clearly, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, NIV). We need forgiveness, and we need to show that same mercy to those who trespass against us.
Finally, “Walk humbly with your God.” It strikes me today that the only way to walk with God is to bow before God. Isn’t that what humility is? Humility before God is believing that God’s will is the best plan, that God’s way is the right way. Walking with God is about Him leading and us following. He knows what is best. He sees what we cannot. His love for us never fails, and we can trust His leading even when we don’t understand.
God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). We need to let God be God, and understand that we are not God, and that every thought we have is not of God. As hard as it is to admit it, sometimes we are just plain wrong.
On that long ago day, my young husband was trying to plant something new and beautiful in our little townhouse yard, and in my stubborn pride, I was blocking the way. God has plans for beauty in this world, and we often block them with our stance of blaming and bitterness.
It’s great to have our own ideas, but if we want a better world, we must also listen to the ideas of others. We will still forget to listen from time to time, yet maybe like me on that long ago afternoon, we can pause and recognize our mistake. Maybe instead of shouting back, we can learn to laugh it off and get back to the work we have been called to do.
By the way, we did get the azaleas planted, and they looked beautiful. Oh, and we managed to stay married too!
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Colossians 3:15 – NIV
O Gracious Lord, forgive our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us. Let us forget the harsh words said in anger, just as you have forgiven our wrong choices. Grant us hearts of peace and attitudes of joy that we might make the world around us a better place to be. Lord, let us walk humbly with You, loving our neighbor and doing good.
In the Forgiving Name of Jesus, we pray,