I love it when God uses two (or more) sources, in a short amount of time, to enforce His message to me…
Today at church; our pastor continued his series “A Disciple’s Journey” and titled today’s sermon “In Vulnerability.” He spoke about how we all want to be right and don’t like to be wrong; which causes a lot of arguments. Jesus is God and so He is always right. Even so, he remained silent while standing on trial before the Sanhedrin in Matthew 26:57-68 being questioned and mocked. When he did answer; he spoke with humility accepting that he would still be mocked and scorned.
Our pastor spoke of an Asian concept (we live in Japan) called “Saving Face.” Basically, people often do not admit their short comings or admit that they are wrong because they do not want to be shamed. We do not want to be wrong because that would make us vulnerable.
Our pastor closed his sermon with the following thought: “When we are willing to trust God; we are willing to be vulnerable because victory comes through defeat.”
Today after church; I was preparing for my weekly Bible study on Anger that I facilitate. This week we will be watching Dr. S. M. Davis’ sermon called: “How To Help A Man With His Anger.”
In it he says that almost everyone has had to deal with someone who has a problem with anger. Then he says, “Sometimes it happens when you are right and the other person is wrong. Christians are often in the greatest danger; not when they are wrong but when they are right. When you are right and someone else is wrong; it is much easier to become bitter. That is the reason that Jesus tells us to go the second mile or turn the other cheek.”
At the beginning of his message, Dr. Davis says, “It is too easy for us to get caught up in someone else’s actions that we forget the importance of our reactions. God isn’t going to judge me for someone else’s actions; he is going to judge me for my reaction and the actions that come from it.”
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. Matthew 5:38-42
Over and over in working through my anger problems; I have come across the concept that people who always have to be right will always be in the midst of conflict. The following question is often asked: “Would you rather be right or be happy?” Yes, we all say that we want to be happy but most of us show in our actions that we want to be right. I can’t count the number of arguments that I have had over the years with my husband and many others because I insist that I am right and they are wrong. My husband often says to me something along the lines of “You would argue with me that the sky is green and the grass is blue!” He usually says that when I am arguing with him over something that isn’t really that important (where we should go to dinner or where we should park the car, etc.). Unfortunately, my husband and I will often argue like there is no tomorrow and it usually is because one or both of us feels like we are right. I often feel defeated or without hope because I don’t always see how our conflicts are being resolved or I feel our marriage is moving in the right direction far too slowly.
What I have been learning through the marriage and anger studies that I have been doing over the past year; is that I can’t put I time limit on God. As long as I let him; God will continue to mold me and change me into who he wants me to be. He will also continue to mold and change my husband. His plan may include “fixing” us on different schedules or timelines through different means. As much as I think that I know what my husband needs to do to change himself; I need to remember that God knows better than I. I need to focus on changing myself and work through my problems (as hard as that is).
Today my pastor quoted Oswald Chambers: “Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One Who is leading. It is a life of faith, not of intellect and reason, but a life of knowing Who makes us ‘go.’ The root of faith is the knowledge of a Person, and one of the biggest snares is the idea that God is sure to lead us to success.”
Bottom line is that I need to trust that God knows what he is doing in my life and in my marriage.
I will leave you with the following quote from Dr. Davis (in his sermon “What Impatience Does”):
“Patience is accepting a difficult situation
without giving God a deadline to do something about it.”