Each month I write an article for a local magazine, Up In Cumming, and I always like to share them with you guys, too. The November issue kicks off the holiday season, and so do I with a look at dealing with all the guests we’ll host in our homes over the next 8 weeks. Enjoy!
Have you ever had to be reminded of who you are?
Recently, one of my children did something that disappointed me. But, disappointment wasn’t the first emotion I experienced. Frustration or anger better sums it up. In the moments that followed, I acted on those first emotions. I raised my voice. I focused on the wrong that had been done, rather than the lesson that needed to be learned. And I let my frustration show on my face. I’m sure my child got the point that I was not happy. I’m pretty sure everyone in the family got that message.
As most moms do, I laid in bed that night reliving the failures of the day. (Isn’t it amazing how those closest to us can push all the right buttons to illicit all the wrong behaviors from us?) Yes, I was still frustrated with the action of my child, but I was also aware that I could have reacted so much better. After all, I’m the parent. I’m the adult. More is expected of me because of who I am!
Have you dealt with people who have pushed your buttons? You know, those people? People who criticize, behave badly, speak harshly, or trample on your feelings? People who take you for granted or have hurt you?
When we deal with those people, we can be tempted to fall into the game of cat and mouse – they make a comment, we respond in kind; they act a fool, we hold a grudge; they fail to show gratitude, we withhold love; they hurt us, we refuse to forgive. It’s in moments when we’re dealing with those people that we need to be reminded of WHO WE ARE. We are children of God who have been forgiven much, loved deeply, and taught to turn the other cheek. As Christians, more is expected of us than to simply respond in ways that make us feel good in the moment.
That’s not me talking…..that comes straight from the apostle Paul. Check out this verse:
Col 3:12-15: “Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love.”
Paul is saying, “Since you are Christians, since you represent Jesus, since you have been forgiven so much, since you owe everything to Him, more is expected of you!”
As you deal with those people, show mercy. Be kind and gentle. Hold your tongue in humility. Don’t expect perfection in those people; accept that they will make mistakes. Don’t harbor bitterness; forgive, instead.
You know, the holiday season is here, and some of us dread dealing with our dysfunctional families over the next few weeks. I know it’s not easy. Sometimes, years of hurt have piled up and healing seems impossible. But, I want to encourage all of us with this truth:
GOD’S WAY IS ALWAYS BEST! If he says we should show kindness and mercy and forgiveness in the face of hurt and betrayal, then we can be sure that path is a better choice than living with anger and resentment.
Remember who you are, friends. You are loved deeply and have been forgiven much. Maybe, just maybe, God’s love will motivate you to see those people a little bit differently this holiday season.