Hot tempers start fights;
a calm, cool spirit keeps the peace.
Proverbs 15:18 (The Message)
I’m not sure if I would call myself calm, cool and collected–unless you count crisis mode when something from within takes over and I do what I have to do. But I get excited, even passionate, about things I believe in. Just as a mama grizzly protects her cubs, don’t criticize my family, my faith, or my country or you will find me ready to bite off your head.
But criticize me? Normally, it takes a lot to get a me to fight back. Years of experience help tamp down my anger. And I know that words spoken in anger can never be taken back. I’m not perfect and more often than not, it is the irritating grain of sand that takes me down.
Do you have sandpaper people in your life? These folks just seem to rub you the wrong way. I know my reaction is to tolerate them, ignore them, run away, or even try to “fix” them all to no avail. But what if they don’t go away? And what happens when they really tick me off? Do I respond in hurt and anger or love? It’s a choice.
This week, an opportunity to test my response spilled out over several days. A simple action with good intentions resulted in an explosive negative reaction by a friend. Nothing I could say or do softened or soothed the wound. Hurtful words followed and finally, I had enough. Now the choice. Rather than respond while I was upset, I decided to go to bed and do nothing.
I crawled into bed and turned on the TV to wind down. A woman was being interviewed about unkind treatment she recently endured in a very public situation. When asked what she did about it, she responded, “I decided to forgive and move on.” I looked around the bedroom, checking. It was as if I heard God speaking directly to me. Those words hit me and I knew what to do.
I learned that some things can’t be fixed but they can be forgiven. I do my part and rest is up to God.