So I was watching Dennis the Menace while I ate my lunch yesterday, and Dennis was doing his thing…you know where he means well, yet destroys people’s lives. Well anyway, these two women were competing to try to win Mr. Wilson’s heart as Dennis had led them to believe that Mrs. Wilson had left Mr. Wilson. Well Mrs. Wilson was in the beauty parlor (having had no intention of ever leaving Mr. Wilson) when she overheard one of these ladies tell another woman what was going on and what a horrible person Mrs. Wilson was for leaving Mr. Wilson.
Seriously, it almost made me cry. This woman was being so hateful and speaking horrible untruths. I was really hoping that Mrs. Wilson would stand up, make her presence known, and let that lady have a piece of her mind.
But she didn’t.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Matthew 5:38-39 ESV)
You could just see the pain on Mrs. Wilson’s face. Her stylist came in and Mrs. Wilson humbly asked her if she thought that women of their age took their husbands for granted. The stylist had to admit that they probably did…unintentionally. So Mrs. Wilson decided to get all dolled up for Mr. Wilson. She looked fabulous and Mr. Wilson took notice. The misunderstanding got all sorted out and they all ate fried chicken and lemon meringue pie. All in a quick 20 minutes time! TV is just amazing!
I’ve never been in a situation where I have overheard someone spreading lies about me, but I have been in a situation where I overheard others complaining about me. It is unpleasant. The first time this happened I was deeply hurt – didn’t even really know the person – but I was so shocked that someone I barely knew would have such a twisted perspective about who I am as a person. The second time this happened, I was a bit more reasonable and took some time to think about the actual complaint. I was able to own my part and apologize. I did what I could to correct the situation.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (James 1:19-20 ESV)
Since then, I’ve had others come directly to me and explain how I have hurt them; always unintentionally, but harm was done nonetheless. It is a humbling thing to try to sort out where I was wrong and if and where they may have been too sensitive. “If they really knew me, they’d understand what I really meant.” FAIL.
Some days I am not fit to be around others! I’m still a work in progress.
All this to say that we need a truck load of grace in our lives – even when we don’t realize that we need it. And a huge pile of humble pie to top it off. Had I been Mrs. Wilson, even today in my seasoned age, I would have given that woman a piece of my mind! I still have much to learn. Her humility, thoughtfulness, and gracious response did God proud. Don’t you miss those old shows that have such great lessons? They taught us morals and manners that somehow our culture is now gravely lacking – in myself also.
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. (Matthew 18:15 ESV)
Father God, thank You that You are not finished with me yet. Thank You for showing me (even on TV) what humility looks like. Lord give me the strength to pause and reflect when I’ve been insulted and offended. Help me to act in a manner that reflects your love for others and to walk in Your Spirit. Forgive me Lord for my short-sightedness and selfish heart. Take this pride from me so that I can walk humbly with You Father. Amen.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:16-24 ESV)
Allow God’s Holy Spirit to direct your actions and your speech. Put on each morning God’s love and walk in that. Ask God to guard the words of your mouth to allow only that which builds up and does not tear down.
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (Colossians 4:6 ESV)
Be encouraged. Press on.