Oops I Blew it Again!
Have you ever wondered how many chances you'll be given to get it right? Maybe you try to do the right thing but you let another opportunity pass you by or you outright messed up. There's always that one person who can get right under your skin and just at the right moment utters that one thing that pushes you over the edge. Before you know it, you blow up in their face or have become defensive.
Soon after we had adopted our girls from Asia, I was asked for what seemed like the hundredth time, "Why are you adopting a baby from a foreign country? Don't you know there are lots of babies here in our own country that need a home?" Without hesitation, I shrieked back, "God didn't make the borders. If He wants me to travel halfway around the world to adopt a baby then I'm doing it!" And then to sweeten the pot, I added, " Besides, who are you to judge me?" After awhile it became a quick flippant, "It's none of your business" remark. It gave me immediate satisfaction that quickly turned into remorse as I watched them walk away looking like they had just been in an altercation with the Wicked Witch of the West.
We can blame the stresses of our job, pressure of family life, or even a pandemic that happens to be going on right now. God doesn't say to be slow to speak, slow to anger, and quick to listen solely when it's convenient for us, or only when we're in a good place in our life. So how do we truly listen or stay silent when we are filled with built up emotions inside of us? Through prayer, I have learned to try and hit the pause button before speaking immediately what is on my mind.
It is often that we misunderstand another individual's intentions which can lead to a breakdown in the relationship. If we learn to truly listen, ask questions, and clarify dialogue, we may actually reveal their heart motivation. Sometimes it takes practice to become a good listener. If I am intentionally listening, I am not nodding my head while inside trying to think of a good 'come back'. I ask God, "What does this person really need or want to know?". I am still learning to become better at the art of listening. It is my desire to love others through my attentive listening. God desires for us to be righteous, and because that's His desire, that's my desire too.
Recently I was asked that same adoption question again, "Why did you adopt your children from a foreign country?" or "Didn't you want kids of your own?" I smile because I know God is giving me another chance to answer in the way He would answer. I pause and say in a calm voice, "I am so glad you asked. Yes we wanted our own children but after praying and seeking God's will for us, He gave us our own children who were born in another country. They needed us and we needed them. So God blessed both of us." I took the time to explain in a calm, rational voice what God had done in our lives, the response was positive. "Oh I think that's wonderful," replied the individual. I am so thankful God is a God of second, third, and a hundred chances. Because the Holy Spirit reminds me to be slow to anger and slow to speak; I have been afforded the opportunity to share more about God's love for all of His children who live all around the world.
Prayer: God,Thank you for showing me how to respond in relationships. Your son Jesus is a perfect example for us to follow. As a mighty counselor, He listens to our words and shows compassion to His children. Thank you for reminding me to be quick to listen and slow to speak. As I continue to grow in spiritual maturity, show me your ways Lord. You are a righteous God. Thank you for desiring the same of us.
Bible Verse: My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. James 1:19 (NIV)