Mia with her BFF's (super heroes)
I Peter 3:9 – Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
If you are a fan of our show or been following me on social media, you know by now that our daughter, Mia, was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate. Because of her many surgeries, she has scarring on and above her lip that is visible to most people. Even though she is surrounded by close family members and friends at school and church who treat her like they treat everyone else, there are those rare times when she is confronted by someone new. A few years ago at one of Reed’s home varsity football games, Mia and some of her friends were playing off to the side of the bleachers. A child from the visitors’ side who was playing with them made fun of Mia in front of Mia’s friends. Mia ran to me and Jase in the bleachers with her friends right on her tail, buried her head in my lap and cried. When her friends saw her reaction, they came to her rescue, all talking at the same time and telling me exactly what they were going to say to this kid and how they were going to say it. As much as I appreciated their love and protection of my daughter (and as much as I wanted to march down there myself), I instructed them to let it go. After talking with them for a few minutes and fighting back my own tears, I convinced these little super heroes that if they were mean to this child (even if they felt justified), they were doing the same thing to her as she did to their friend. This was a poignant moment for Mia, her friends and me as well.
When was the last time someone lashed out at you? Was it in person or by text message? Take a moment to remember how it felt. I remember that my body became hot, like something inside of me was set on fire. It was a heat that I could never reproduce if I tried with all my might! It’s a heat that was produced by my emotions. Emotions are a powerful tool against rational thinking. Lawyers use this as a defense against murder and other violent crimes. Of course, they don’t call it the “emotional defense”. They call it “temporary insanity”. These people who let their emotions take control of their physical body do things to other people that they would never have done if they would have taken a few deep breaths, calmed the heat that was rising inside their body, turned and walked away. But man, that is hard to do!
Galatians 5:22-24 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” Paul understood over 2000 years ago that “passions and desires” are emotions that need to be dealt with. I’ve heard a theory over the years about why Paul put this list of the fruits in this passage in the order that he did. The theory is that each of these fruits become more difficult as the list goes on, progressing finally to “self-control”. I tend to agree with this theory. Self-control is super hard to achieve, especially when your emotions are screaming at you, “You don’t deserve this!” “What are you waiting for?” “Tell them exactly what you think of them!” “This is your chance! Do it now!”
Take a deep breath.
Take another deep breath.
Put your phone down.
Say a prayer for self-control.
Think about when Jesus was brought before the courts. Think about how he was insulted and beaten. Don’t you think his Father was upset? Don’t you think the Father had the power to stop this? Of course He did. He chose to not let his emotions run the show. If the Father or Jesus had not practiced self-control, we would not have eternal salvation. Satan thought he had gotten away with killing Jesus and stopping this whole plan of salvation thing. But he was wrong. Both Jesus and the Father knew that Jesus’s suffering was part of the plan. Did God watch his Son as he was tortured and ridiculed? I know I could not have done it.
So, next time you are the victim of a verbal attack, think of Jesus on the cross and his decision not to lash out at his attackers. Think of his Father who was in heaven listening to every one of his Son’s cries of pain. If you do, you will be blessed by your decision. People around you will see how you handle these situations. Let God be God. Trust God to handle your situation AND your emotions. Here is a simple prayer you can pray to help you:
Lord, please help quench the desire I have to lash out at people who insult me or my child. I know that you had to look the other way so many times when people insulted, laughed at, made fun of and ultimately killed your Son. Yet you felt nothing but love for them. Give me the understanding of a broader perspective than just myself and my feelings. Let me always look to you and your example of mercy and forgiveness.
Have an uneventful week!