THERE was a little girl, And she had a little curl, Right in the middle of her forehead.When she was good She was very, very good, And when she was bad she was horrid… Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Romans 12:17-19
Dear Mr. Idiot: You must know that your behaviour is egregious, your ignorance appalling and your business sense and acumen literally void. Not only that, in the course of you sticking your big over-blown ego directly into the center of a very delicate negotiation, you may have cost our employer literally millions of dollars…and I do not care that you “have been doing this for a long time.” My response to that comment is, “and you have remained employed?”
Hah, gotcha didn’t I? You never expected to read that riotous assault on someone’s personage on this blog, did you? Well, though that wasn’t what I literally said, it is certainly what I thought….and to be honest, the above comes close to the words I shared with a colleague a few weeks back. Let it be known that I was not using my “inside voice.” I was hopping mad – read faced and blotchy necked, spitting and frothing. I was Horrid!
Eew. As soon as words left my mouth, I felt the liquid acid of them landing on my target. I felt sick.
Wow did He convict me. Not for a moment – but for days after. Never mind that I was doing my job. That didn’t matter. What matters is how I reacted to a very tense situation and more importantly how as an ambassador of Christ, I should have been kicked to the proverbial curb of the embassy. My behaviour was egregious.
After breathing heavily and calming down eventually – (it took me hours), I reached out to a godly friend/colleague who I trust to talk me off the cliff and hold me accountable. She did just that…and advised me, wisely, to repent it to God and then, after prayer and with a quiet spirit, talk it through with “Mr. Idiot.”
I spent the weekend in contriteness and confession, and asked God to forgive me and go in front of me to prepare a way to restoration on Monday. I requested a call with my colleague and was surprised to find that God had obviously been working on his heart too. Though my work colleague and I are not of the same faith, it is true that God holds the hearts of all men, not just those who call themselves Christians.
So why am I sharing this story? Because I know that I am not alone in this Battle of the Bellicose. Most of us, given the right circumstances can go from cool to boiling hot in a millisecond…and Satan knows this – so be sure he will arrange circumstances to get you there and enjoy the damage that ensues. Lets face it, if he cannot battle for your soul, he will battle for your mind and destroy any godly influence you might offer to others.
He knows it too and that is why He gives us some great guidelines to remember AND employ:
When I am ready to scream, I must remember – A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
When I think I have the right to be right, I must – Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds. Ephesians 4:22-23
When I am quick to cast judgement and assume, I must remember that to assumptions are not fact, they are experiential feeling – so I must remember God is the judge, not me – “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? Romans 2:1-4
I must remember that with a Spirit-controlled temperament, God can work in me – otherwise, I am of no use to Him – “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:32-42
And finally, I must remember to let go and move on. Life is too short to hold grudges and God seeks restoration in all things. “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you”. Ephesians 4:31-32
…and with all due respect to Mr. Longfellow, I think I shall rewrite the story of the Horrid little girl…
THERE once was an angry young Miss
With bad tempers that made such a mess
When her patience got thin
It never ended in win, And so she was forced to confess.
She knew it was wrong just to “lose it”
That God frowned when she was abusive
So she got herself right
Gave up on the fight, To her temper she chose to refuse it
Then God He reminded young Miss
In My guidance, I must insist
Your anger, you will choose to ignore
To me you shall open your door
And I will come in Right wrong to a win
and now Miss is horrid no more!
The End…and er, Amen.