The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. -Proverbs 17:27
Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly. -Proverbs 14:29
A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel. -Proverbs 15:18
There’s a seminar called Love & Respect I want to discuss in another post which really opened my eyes. In it, one of the key concepts is that your response is your responsibility.
The context for the seminar, and that concept, is marital conflict and resolution, but it really can be applied to any relationship.
The worldly path: It’s all about you
If you’re an unbeliever, it just means that you need to be the bigger, more mature person…which is a really tough pill to swallow when you feel wronged, and you’ve got to say something. You just can’t let it go. In fact, if you don’t do or say anything, you feel you will have been an accessory in robbing yourself of happiness.
The believer’s path: It’s all about Him
If you’re a believer, however, your happiness is not tied to your circumstance, or the actions of another person. Why? Because you’re then a puppet, at the whim of strings another person is pulling, and whipped around by the winds of turbulent times.
Instead, when the other person is just poking and prodding and slandering and accusing and condemning…when they’re unleashing everything in their arsenal to find a chink in your spiritual armor…you can either take it head on (you won’t last!) or choose His peace.
Note that I didn’t say firing back was an option!
(In fairness, some belief systems do advocate that you don’t tie your peace to circumstances or people, either. But they don’t, of course, tie it to God’s infinite peace.)
Easy for you to say!
Right? You might say, “That’s easy for you to say…you’re not in my situation!”
But the truth is, God’s peace is infinite and inexhaustible. We only need to tap into it. And to do that, we must step out of our flesh natures, which harbor the hurt and self-pity and indignance.
It’s not strength that’s needed to do this…but instead, to let go and trust. To remember that He sees everything that’s going on, and that you trust His promise that He will work out all things for the good of His children who love Him, and that His peace and unconditional love for you can be channeled through you to the other person. It’s not about you. It’s about Him.
So…I’m a doormat?
I wrestle with this…so being loving of the other person, regardless of their spiritual performance, makes me a doormat, right? I just let this keep going and going? Where’s the discernment to act, not just sit back and take it in faith that He will make things better?
The following devotional helped me immensely to understand that it is not about being a doormat at all, and to see what Jesus did in His time on this earth:
Agape love doesn’t obligate you to do any of those things. But you might still think agape love-God’s gift-love-makes you into someone people can abuse. If that’s what you think, you’re missing a clear picture of love.