This Memorial Day weekend was busy. While there was little celebration, I did do a lot of reflection. Naturally a good portion was on remembering the families whose loved one(s) died for my freedom. They are honored and respected by me for their sacrifices.
While painting the outside of the house, cleaning out the garage, re-arranging the clutter and watching my wife as she burned away the brush pile, I found time to reflect on a personal issue.
It is during times where i am busy with chores like these that I like to meditate. My thoughts were consumed with my initial reaction to disturbing family events. I made a conscious decision I would respond to unwelcome news, let’s say from my daughter, by saying, “J_______, I love you but….” I would do this instead of the angry tone of voice which leaves no doubt to my displeasure.
I’m thinking a response of controlled affection saturated with drippings of love would yield more positive results even if followed by a soft rebuke and encouragement. As it would happen it didn’t take long for me to implement my plan. My daughter came to me with some displeasing information and you know what I did…? You guessed it. I sternly and passionately warned her about a character flaw. I did this instead of the soft rebuke sandwiched between an “I love you but…” and a praise.
Now I understand what Paul meant when he penned theses words,
For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. (Romans 7:14-20, 24, 25 NASB)
I haven’t given up yet. I too am a work in progress.
Until next time,
A gentle answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1 NASB)
This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; (James 1:19 NASB)