But, um, what about when WE are the ones who are making it hard for OTHER people to do the right thing . . .
Yeah, me. And you. We're all guilty of it from time to time. There are those moments when OTHER people have to speak peace to US because we have stirred something up that doesn't need to be stirred.
Just to be clear, I'm not talking about standing up for what's right. That's actually calming things down, settling things that have gotten too rough. What I'm referring to is when we see a chance to get attention, or we'd like to see somebody else be the one everybody gets on for a change, or we just flat make a mistake. My mother used to call that "stirring it with a stick."
And just so you know, God doesn't like it. "If anyone stirs up strife," he says in Isaiah 54:15, "it is not from me."
Of COURSE I'm not shaking my finger at you and saying, "BAD Mini-Woman! Go to your place of shame!" That wouldn't teach you anything. What I think WOULD help is to do a couple of things:
(1) Think about the last time you got into it with somebody, whether it was your BFFs, your little brother, your sisters, the kids who are heinous to you at youth group -- whoever. Be really, really honest with yourself: who started it? Who stirred up the thing in the first place? If that person hadn't said or done what she did or said, would there have been an argument (or knock down drag out fight) in the first place?
(2) If that person was you, what could you have done differently so that WWE didn't break out? It's not just about, "I just should have kept my mouth shut," because maybe it was more the WAY you said it, or the TIME that you said it, or the fact that you wouldn't let anyone ELSE say anything. If that person wasn't you, but you definitely got involved, how did you keep the strife going? How did you keep it stirred up? This might be because of what you DIDN'T say as much as what did come out of your mouth.
(3) What can you do to make it right now? Can you apologize to someone? Set the record straight somehow? Tell the people involved that you're going to try very hard not to be involved in anything like that again?
Just remember that you can't possibly pull that off by yourself. God wants to hear about it. God wants to help you. God's got plans for you that can't be carried out if you're out there stirring it with a spoon (or a stick!) So of course God wants you to handle things better. All you have to do is ask.
"Incline your ear and come to me," God says. "Listen so that you may live." (Isaiah 55:3)
If you want to post today, tell us about the spoon you sometimes stir things up with. Who do you always end up "in strife" with? Are you working on it? Do you want us to pray for you?
I'll be back Monday so I'll respond to your comments then, although I've been reading them while I'm away. Encourage each other, mini-women.