Speak Peace, Demonstrate His Love

I'll admit it. As I have aged, as life has hit me this way and that way, as I have learned to live with people I love and people I would just assume avoid altogether in this life, I find it difficult to control my tongue in the best and worst of situations. Let's take the latter of those two. I have joked with Ryan and a couple of friends over the years, that I could have probably been a lawyer or a politician in another life because of my strong opinion about a variety of subjects. I was raised to be confident, independent and to approach life with the best I have to offer. I like to do things a certain way, I like my life to be organized and predictable, everything in its place. I am okay when it comes to surprises, once the initial shock of it has worn off, and despite my need to know what is coming up and have everything well in place, I am and will always be open to something new and changing, especially if it will improve my current circumstances. As I am getting older, and as the pace of life is speeding up and threatening to run me over if I don't keep up, I find I am easily sucked into this cranky, I refuse to put up with your nonsense type of attitude. I prefer a quiet night at home with my family, watching a movie and snuggling on the sofa, rather than going out or to a big gathering. I'm a home-body, cherish my time on more simplified terms and will defend it passionately. Like some of you, in my own little world, as I absorb what is taking place all around me and the injustices that are unfolding, I could very easily get caught up in the politics, the passions expressed unendingly and uncensored through any number of public forums and social media outlets. There have been moments when I have participated in some of these discussions and there have been moments that I have chosen to heed that nudge inside me that says to be silent, think before I speak. Ever been there? As much as we'd like to voice our concerns, our outrage over any one given situation that has been blasted on the nightly news or the headlines in our newspapers and online, there is something to be said for wisely stepping back and holding our tongues. How many times, in the heat of the moment, have we lashed out without a second thought to what that tongue lashing could do? Do we stop to consider at any point the damage that we can do with our tongues? In my devotional a few moments ago, I read this scripture, so timely for this subject:

The wise are cautious and avoid danger; but fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence. Proverbs 14:16 NLT

Something that has occurred to me today, as we consider how we can serve one another, help those who are hurting deeply right now. Before we offer the Scriptures, the quotes, the songs, the solutions that seem to come to mind so quickly when we are in that moment, listening to someone pour out their heart about a need--stop and consider that the best help you may be able to offer at that moment is to LISTEN. Don't get me wrong, God has called us to be salt and light in a very dark world, but sometimes the greatest comfort we can give someone in need is a hug and the words, "I am here for you. I am listening." Consider carefully and choose wisely what you will say to someone who may come across your path today. I want to offer my hands to hold another's and pray for them, my arms to hold them in a comforting hug, and my ears to listen to whatever may be pouring from their hearts today. There is a world out there, some of the people we need to help are right in front of us. A friend you have known for years, a family member, or it may be a perfect stranger we pass at the gas station. Your willingness to stop and say hello, look them in the eye and offer them some help, or even asking them, "May I pray for you?" could be the difference in their entire day, perhaps a turning point in their lives. I want to live my faith with confidence, and I will speak up for what is right in these days of great injustice, but I will choose to lean on the wisdom of the Father to determine what comes out of my mouth first.

The biggest impact we can have for Christ often may come without speaking a word, but by opening our eyes and our hearts to the needs right in front of us.
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