This past week it's been fun having the entire family under one roof. LITERALLY!!! All this snow, ice, and inclement weather has all of us hanging around the house. Our family dynamic changes with the older children home, and I love the deep conversations over what it means for each of us as we walk closely to Christ.
Yesterday there was a break in the weather and our day was spent getting all that was needed to be done this week completed in one day. Shopping, post office, bank, more shopping, music practices, meetings, back to the mall, all of three visits to the mall ending with a late night dessert at the Cheese Factory.
While at the mall I waited for the elevator to stop with all four boys. A woman got off and as she was walking she caught her foot on the corner of my stroller. I tried to back up to make more room, but that was not enough for her to catch her foot. She did not stumble or trip. However her response got me thinking. She said to me... "what the hell did you do that for?" ... she then looked at her daughter who looked about ten years old and said "people are such idiots".
I thought to myself how sad this woman's day or moment might be to think that my intentions were to do her any harm, or to trip her. It got the me thinking and talking a little with my older children. It reminded me of a conversation shared with my Bible study group this past fall. The discussion of how we love, show kindness, and care for people. As Christians we all have many different levels of understanding of who God is in our lives. Who we are to be in Jesus. Who we are called to be.
Can we look past the moment and think of the intentions of the person who may have offended. I did not take offense to this strangers reaction to me. I just smiled and I said I am so sorry. Which did little for her mood. But how could I get upset or grumble over her reaction to me? Was her intention to verbally hurt a stranger. Perhaps yes, or more likely her spirit was already grumbling over the issues in her own life.
When I feel hurt or offended by my loved ones I have to take a step back and think...was it the intention of that person to hurt me? Who am I to be in the harder situations in my life when someone offends me? Miscommunication, misunderstandings, and lack of communication can lead down paths of discontent among family, friends and even strangers. I am reminded of these verses from James...
Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.
I read these verses and see no disclaimers for walking with Godly wisdom. What I mean is the underlying acts of being the victim in your life, bitterness, jealous, hard life and so on. We are all as lovers and followers of Jesus called to behaviors that the Bible clearly defines. Are you able to roll back from a situation and do some sober estimating of your own life? How are you responding or reacting to the ill intentions of others? Is your life so self-centered that it is all about you? That you are easily rattled, like this woman when someone steps into your path?
I was frazzled, after several hours in the mall, and four boys in tow. As I was going outside to the car Eric ran into the street and I was frustrated and said something that made Elliot look at me and say that hurt my feelings. I said "Elliot it's so hard when you are home, the boys are out of control". My intention was not to hurt Elliot, but I did. I appreciate that in the moment he could tell me and I could hear his heart. What I meant was that his brother's are so very excited to be with him, in his space that they lose sight of all senses and run circles around him, which put Eric in harms way. My intentions were not to hurt Elliot. I had to ponder in the moment "gentle" "reasonable" and together Elliot and I were done with that moment. He knew my intent was not to hurt him.
In the next two weeks our schedules will be changing up for the Christmas season., our lives will have family or friends that are not in our spaces to often. Not always knowing what our intentions are, but clearly there will be hurts and wounds that are not yet healed from years past. Reflect on the words from James 3. Wrap them around your heart and ask God to give wisdom in these areas. Have mercy and take no offense to those who may hurt you. If you are loving God and pressing forward with good intentions He will take care of the rest.
Love, Peace, Joy to all this Christmas Season