Let’s imagine a scenario together:
You were looking forward to seeing your man after work. He had set up a date for tonight and you were so excited to get to share some time together after a couple of weeks of hardly seeing each other.
You text him at work during the day just to let him know you love him. He doesn’t respond.
You text him again a few minutes later. Nothing.
After about an hour, you call him and he is short with you on the phone.
You don’t get to talk with him again until he comes to pick you up. When you open the door. He is not smiling. He doesn’t even kiss you hello like normal.
In a moment like this – you have a choice. You have to make some assumptions right now before you really know what is happening.
- You can assume the worst. Let your fears take over your mind and go with the biggest ones. Maybe what happened earlier means that he doesn’t really love you. And then you can jump all over him as if he truly doesn’t love you. That will teach him!
- You can assume the best about him. That he really does love you but maybe had a tough day. And you can seek to be a blessing to him and to understand his heart and what is going on with him before you respond.
In the moment, when things all start to go wrong in our day, we are in a hurry, or someone says or does something hurtful-how do we respond in the power of God? How do we avoid snapping at them or lashing out? How can we truly respond in God’s power rather than in a sinful way?
These are important questions!
Before I answer, I need to share that I am going to make several assumptions about those who are reading this post:
- I assume that you know Jesus as your Savior.
- I assume that you know that for Jesus to be your Savior, He also must be your Lord.
- I assume that you know that to respond in God’s power, you have to feed your soul nourishing spiritual food. This means, spending significant time in fervent prayer and reading the Bible. Not just asking God for things like He is a big genie. And not just reading your Bible to put a check mark on your to do list. I am talking about praying that involves daily praising God, thanking Him, confessing your sin, and asking God to change you to make you more like Jesus. And I am talking about praying for God’s kingdom to come in your life, in others’ lives, and in the world. This is praying about the stuff that matters to God, not just asking for things for your own pleasure. And I am talking about being still and listening to Him, as well.
- I assume that you are willing an ready to give up anything in your life, mind, or heart that God desires you to give up. So I assume you are willing to tear out any idols, let go of bitterness, trash unbelief/worry/fear, humble yourself, and submit fully to Christ in total obedience to the best of your understanding as you allow God’s Spirit to change and empower you.
When we are in Christ, spending time with Him, allowing Him to fill us, getting rid of any spiritual poison, and we are receiving His goodness, His Spirit gives us the power to live as though our flesh is crucified with Christ. Jesus lives in and through us to give us the power to do what we can’t do on our own.
A few things that are essential:
- The discipline of taking our thoughts captive for Christ.
- The discipline of filling our hearts and minds with thanksgiving and praise to God all throughout the day.
- A mindset of almost continual prayer and connection with God each moment.
- A willing total dependence on Christ as we acknowledge we can’t do anything good apart from Him.
- An understanding of Satan’s strategies and tactics to try to ensnare us.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. James 3:9-10
I can respond in the power of God’s Spirit rather than the flesh. He can give me victory over temptations to be hateful, sarcastic, bitter, resentful, prideful, self-righteous, judgmental, or condescending. With His Spirit overflowing through me, I can respond in God’s love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.
With His Spirit, I can see with God’s eyes, love with His love, think with His mind, act with His hands. I am His body! He lives through and empowers me to be able to respond the way He would. This also shows that I truly love Him because however I respond to people when they are difficult to love reveals how much I love and obey the Lord.
When people are aggravating, it is a test, dear sisters! A spiritual test that will reveal my character. The way I respond to others, even when they sin against me, reveals my heart and who is in control of my life. My response when I am sinned against also demonstrates the depth of my love and obedience for Jesus.
So, in this example above, I could respond in the flesh with contempt, a critical spirit, an angry tone of voice, and a scowl:
- “You were such a jerk today! What is wrong with you? I thought you really loved me like I love you. You didn’t even have the decency to text me back in a reasonable amount of time. Some Christian you are!”
- “You know what? I don’t even care what you have to say for yourself. There is no excuse for the way you treated me earlier on the phone. I don’t care what kind of emergency you may have had at work! You should treat me with respect.”
Or I could respond in the Spirit with a pleasant, friendly attitude, tone of voice, and facial expressions:
- “Baby, you must have had a really tough day at work today. Are you okay? What can I do to be a blessing to you?”
- “We can hang out here if you want to. I want you to be able to relax. I could make spaghetti in about 30 minutes (or I’ll go grab some takeout for us) while you have a chance to just chill if that sounds good to you.”
IMAGINE BEING THE GUY IN THIS SITUATION
In which scenario would you feel most welcomed, loved, accepted, honored, and respected? Remember, guys have feelings, too. Even if they don’t express them the same way we do. Hateful, negative words still hurt them. What if you had a truly horrific situation at work and you weren’t able to respond to the text messages. What if things were falling apart and you were doing your best but it just felt like you were running in quicksand with problem after problem? If you had an extremely stressful day, which greeting would you prefer at the door that night?
Have you had situations that were difficult to deal with? How has God helped you respond in ways that honor Him?
Much love to each of you in Christ!
Is Sarcasm Appropriate for Godly Women
Speaking to men without directives
Tone of voice challenge (a video on Youtube. I talk to wives in this video, but the principles would apply to us all in all of our relationships.)
Advanced Self Control – video
Handling Emotions Wisely – video
Taking Our Thoughts Captive for Christ – video