Being a lady is a lot harder said than done. I’d like to confess that I have that behavior nailed down, but I’d be lying. This past week, I was unduly provoked (at least I think so) and was disrespected and dismissed. It’s a horrible way to be treated and I got really angry. I said some things I wish I hadn’t said and threw a few choice words at the end of my heated proclamations, just for emphasis. I got myself so worked up that by 9:30 that evening, I could still feel my heart drumming too fast in my chest. I was upset! Rather than acting the lady I know myself to be though, I confess I behaved like a scalded cat. But God is not done with me yet, and here are five things He taught me this week:
#1 CHECK YOURSELF
My younger, un-regenerated self would have immediately given this person who stung me a tongue lashing, walked away, or completely blown up the relationship, like TNT blown up. But God reminded me that I must see people the way He sees people. I must love people, despite their ugly, arrogant behavior, even when it is directed toward me, because God loved me when I was, and still can be, arrogant and ugly. Maturity has also taught me a thing or two. Rather than confronting the person in my full-blown anger, I chose to simmer down and get perspective lest I behave even more the fool. Proverbs 26:4 tells us, “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. “ There is a better way to defend myself and with God’s help, I will figure it out.
#2 CHECK MOTIVATIONS
I asked myself more than once why I was letting this person get under my skin. The reason was simple, it was pride. God cares about how I am treated, but He hates pride. This person had attacked my abilities and criticized me, but that is no excuse for me retaliating in a way that isn’t pleasing to God. Rather, integrity is that which God says we are to stand on, not me in full warrior mode ticking off all of my accomplishments. God tells us to be humble and He will lift up our horn. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up,” James 4:10.
#3 CHECK THE TRUTH
When I was over-the-top angry, I couldn’t recognize the other emotion that was simmering beneath the surface, and that was one of hurt. My feelings were wounded that this other person didn’t appreciate me for my many talents and staying on top of a rigorous and demanding schedule. Although I am by no means a people-pleaser, I took the criticism personal. Everyone says, “It isn’t personal.” But let’s be honest, it is always personal. We all want to be liked and appreciated. Just sometimes we won’t be. It is good for us to remind ourselves that we live in a fallen world. We are sinners and we deal with sinners. I was stung emotionally, but I also had to examine myself and determine if any of the accusations were true. Proverbs 26:2 tells us, “Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest.”
#4 CHECK YOUR WORDS
As I nursed my wounded pride and anger and was busy spilling my feelings to sympathetic listeners, I said ugly things about the person who angered me and hurt my feelings, that is until the Holy Spirit checked my spirit, literally, in mid-sentence. Immediately, He reminded me of Matthew 12:36: “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.” Nuff said. Adding gossip to a bad situation or ruining someone’s reputation does not make me a better person. It makes me just as bad.
#5 CHECK YOUR PROMISES
Our God is not only the redeemer of our own degenerate souls, He is the one who will pay back our enemies. God is our ultimate avenger, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord,” Romans 12:19.