When I was a little girl, I often tried to go against my parent’s wisdom and do things my own way. Blindly, I thought I knew what was best for me and rejected the correction that was helpful and wise to my well being. Now as an adult, I sometimes see some of the same partners in my own children. We are all human and we all make mistakes but there is always a consequence for disobedience. For example, when my daughter Reagan was very small, I had been cooking our dinner in the oven. Knowing the danger, I told her, “Reagan stay away from the oven door while I take out the food. This oven is hot, stay back because you could get burned.”
Then, as a plea for her to understand on her age appropriate level, I tried to overemphasize the word hot. “Hot is ouchie, Reagan. It will burn you!” To be safe, I then picked her up and sat her down in what I thought was a good distance for me to pull the food out and shut the oven door. Unfortunately, my little girl just so happened to be a quick moving toddler! At least faster then I could move.
From a 2-year-old’s perspective, she had never experienced the feeling of a hot stove. Until….a few seconds later, as I put the pot on top of the oven, she decided to see for herself what the word “hot” meant. Before I could counter react, “HOT!” she screamed while crying and holding her poor little hand tightly. In a panic, I picked her up and put her hand under cool running water until I could get the proper medication on the burn. Thank God it wasn’t a terrible burn. It was only bad enough to make her little hand sting and turn red. Feeling sorry for her, I held her in my arms and told her, “I am sorry your hand huts but Reagan because you didn’t listen to me, you found out what hot means, didn’t you?” Point to the stove, she sadly said, “Ouch Momma, that’s hot!” Tears streamed down her chubby little cheeks and my heart melted for her in sorrow. I know that hurt my baby girl and I tried my best to warn her so that she would avoid any pain. Thankfully, she was alright and I never had to tell her again to stay away from the hot stove.
Often we want to shield others from pain and suffering only to discover that they don’t want to listen to our wisdom. If you are anything like me, it is agonizing to watch the person in defiance and choose wrongly. From your own experiences, you know what may come if they don’t listen to you and you feel the pressure of desperation to warn them. Then to make matters worse, they become annoyed and you may feel like you are portrayed as the bad guy because of their stubborn stance on the matter. Hurt feels rise up because you were trying your best to help that person and they just don’t seem to understand your plea for caution. And honestly, their rejection of the truth can feel like a punch to the gut. Our knee-jerk reaction may be to get frustrated and even angry with them. As Christ followers, we have to be very mindful of how we present the truth to the person in disagreement. In 2 Timothy, Paul wrote good instructions on how to stay calm in the middle of a disagreement.
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 2 Timothy 2:24 NIV
Before becoming unhinged with that person, let us put ourselves in that person’s shoes. Like my daughter, she had never experienced a hot stove before. So when I told her “It’s hot, baby girl, don’t touch it.” She had no frame of reference until she touched it and that is when she realized what I was trying to tell her. Sometimes all we can do is tell the truth in love, show them scripture if needed, pray that God reveals the truth to them and then wait to see what happens next. Like we once experienced, occasionally, others have to learn and discover the truth on their own. Our job is to pray that next time, they will be mature enough to listen to wisdom. Even more challenging is to not take it personally if someone doesn’t want to accept the advice. This is why Paul said not to be resentful but to be kind, and without arguing. Truth always triumphs in the end.
Stay calm and pray about how God wants you to approach that person in love. Keep in mind, truth can be told through love and truth is better received in love versus someone yelling. Mistakes aren’t always a bad thing. Often, we learn through those mistakes and every challenge has the opportunity to draw us closer to the Lord thus creating a pattern of wisdom for the future. We have to be careful that we don’t build a wall with that person so that healthy conversations are impossible the next time your wisdom is needed. Be patient with them, I believe they will eventually see things the way you do and will come back around to ask you for advice during the next new challenge they have yet experienced.
Prayer: Lord, I ask You to help me walk in love during a disagreement with someone who is being defiant to wisdom. Allow me to see the situation through Your eyes and give me the grace to speak the truth in love, even if someone doesn’t want to see things the way I see and know them as truth. Open his or her eyes to wisdom so that they can avoid harmful and unanticipated turmoil. Soften their heart to realize that it is my heart’s desire to help them avoid any physical, spiritual and emotional pain and that I only want what is best for them. And if they don’t listen at first, Lord help them learn from that experience and to seek and adhere to good advice in the future. Thank You, God, that I can be Your voice of truth and that I am a person that others can come to for advice as a loving example of You, Jesus. Holy Spirit, You are wisdom and the voice of truth. Most importantly we are Your children, God. I know that You love us so much and want what is best for us. When the time is right, allow me to be the open arms of comfort and be with us to mend our pain.
In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.
Papa God and Ashley