If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. -John 13:17 (NASB)
Not firing back is difficult when you’ve been wronged, and when you feel like justice has to be served…when you can’t let wrongdoing go unanswered. I’ve been learning to find that ever-moving line between speaking up against wrongdoing and letting things go.
There are those who know just the buttons to press to bait you and tick you off. They know the perfect words–or omission of them–to raise your temper…and you can see and hear their satisfaction once they’ve got you worked up. In those exchanges, know that, as a child of God, you always have a choice. Your response is your responsibility: the God-honoring one, or the one that your volatile feelings and pride tempt you to.
I used to get caught up in the crazy escalation of the back and forth in arguments, and leaving a room but coming right back when I just can’t let that last thing the other person said go. But since Jesus entered the scene, He’s shown me a better way. Fires require fuel and air to keep burning, and Jesus showed me I don’t need to add either to the fire. I could instead sit back and eat humble pie.
Humble pie is definitely an acquired taste, and it’s hard to choke it down when pride is already on your tongue and lips. But like any new food, the more you consume it, the more accustomed and acclimated you get to it. And when you’re busy eating it, you can’t open your mouth in pride against someone else!
The bottom line is that God is always watching…already knowing righteous action and wrongdoing. He is the one who serves justice and vengeance, not us. And His Son clearly states above that the humble path–the one He demonstrated in the flesh–is the also the path of blessings. He said those words after explaining to the apostles why He washed their feet, when they thought it should’ve been the other way around.
The next time you feel your temper and indignance rise again, step back, take a deep breath, and have some humble pie. I find that the more I remember to do that, the less I sweep it aside to tell my offender off…and the more blessings from above as I follow His command in humility and let His grace flow through me.