It almost happened again.
I gave my two-year-old some medicine with a syringe and I watched as most of it dribbled out of his mouth. And the desire rose up in me to say, “Why are you making this so difficult? Why can’t you just take your medicine without any problems like you’ve done several times before?”
But before the words crossed my lips, God said, “Don’t say it.” He knew that my words weren’t grace-filled and compassionate.
He knew I would regret casting disappointment and shame upon my son. And so, it was time to start taking captive what was damaging to my relationship with my son and to my relationship with Christ.
Justifying Our Reactions
Don’t we find it so challenging to bite our tongues? Don’t we easily and readily justify ourselves when we speak through our emotions?
My own justification falls along the lines of natural human expression and preparing my son for the real world. Because the real world is harsh, critical, and quick to show disappointment.
So am I babying my child by silencing these hurtful retorts? Am I sheltering him by being too kind and patient with his inability to swallow grape-flavored liquid on this very hectic morning?
I wanted to give him relief and instead he was causing me grief! How backwards is that?
Before I knew it, I was ready to express how frustrating he was toward my gallant and loving efforts. And the same is often experienced in all our relationships.
Our response is to protest, fully showing our disapproval in gesture and speech. Because we believe that we’ve been unfairly wronged and deserve to seek justice in whatever method it takes to achieve it.
And it’s harmless to react this way, right? I used to think so until God pointed out a recent offense that I was still harboring…
Over a month ago, I gave birth to son #2. Shortly after I was admitted, the nurse decided to discharge me because I wasn’t progressing past two centimeters (I know, right?).
She told me to go home and get some rest, rather than walking the halls of the hospital to get things going. But instead of heeding her advice, my husband and I got a hotel room close by to wait (remember… second kid).
And in one hour, I shot to ten centimeters, giving birth twenty minutes after checking back into the hospital. Let me tell you, I was ANGRY!
I could’ve had an epidural and I could’ve had a doctor there to deliver me; sadly, I had neither. I was even the one to announce my baby’s head was out before anyone realized the urgency of my delivery.
I was so upset with how it all turned out, and I blamed it all on that one nurse. And six weeks later, I was still replaying the ordeal in my head and stewing over the matter again and again.
On the morning of my post-delivery appointment with my doctor, I was ready to state my list of complaints against her. But before I went in, God said, “Do not speak words against her. You will be rewarded for the offenses against you, but you will need to forgive her.”
Not fair, God, not fair!! She doesn’t deserve it!
Do you feel the same way about someone? Has a friend, coworker, or an acquaintance caused you grief?
God tells all of us to forgive one another. And forgiveness requires us to diminish our unholy thoughts and unkind words about them.
For me, you might as well chop off my tongue! The effort it takes to keep words of hurt, frustration, and suffering inside is truly painful.
But God gives us direction on how to conduct ourselves, no matter how much it stings:
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV)
Every thought, argument, and claim that goes against God and His teachings in Scripture. Even when it feels right to dwell on, analyze, and justify, we must hand over it all over to God, so that we can demolish them before they cause us to sin.
On my own, this is an impossible feat. But with God, nothing is impossible!
So I prayed for His help and asked Him to bless her. And He has helped me to take those thoughts captive before they could take me captive.
And I urge you to do the same, by declaring these words over your life:
“I will not linger on these unholy thoughts. God has promised great eternal reward for the wrongs made against me. I will forgive because I love God and believe all that He has promised me!”
Congratulations! You’ve just allowed blessings to rain down upon you:).
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