Wisdom. Oh how I lack it.
Recently, I was in conversation with a brother and found that I had offended him. I was astonished at the claims he made, and found I was completely taken aback by the pain that he expressed.
I sat and listened to the pain he was experiencing, of the anger and frustration he was going through. He is a dear friend and I love him, but I heard him say that I had failed him, that I was not the believer I should have been.
Immediately, I wanted to rear my defenses and fight back, and yet this is not the Christian life.
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.
For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”
Did I commit some (or all) of the offences my brother was speaking of. Yes, I may have, although I can frankly state that his perception of my actions are not in line with my intentions. I will not defend myself any further, for that is fruitless. (This type of event seems to recur in my life, and I am such a slow learner – check out my “Story Time” portion of Commandments for Christians – No Murder)
The issue I would like to consider is the proper response to a brother coming to you, speaking of an offense of yours. What is the Christian way to address this?
Romans speaks of not pleasing ourselves, but of pleasing our neighbor.
It is an interesting word, that is, to please
It is as it is translated – that is to please or to strive to please, to accommodate one’s self to the opinions desires and interests of others.
Of course in the midst of this definition, we need to remember the larger biblical context of obedience to the Master for us in receiving the offence, but also of responding to direct the brother or sister onto greater devotion to the Lord. We cannot simply allow them to reside in bitterness or anger, but we need to direct them to the Lord Himself.
If they are speaking out of a heart of pain, and have forgotten the mercies of the Lord, our focus is to listen, and direct them to the One who is good. Repentance of sin and a spirit of forgiveness needs to be expressed.
And this is the rub, where wisdom is needed! In the midst of an often emotional discussion, truth needs to be discerned, and I struggle in this very act. I want to defend myself and spend my energy either defending myself or attacking the claims being made. I need to listen for the Spirit’s direction, for passages of Scripture that come to mind during the discussion, determine the appropriateness of the passage, and gently direct the conversation to the Lord.
Gently direct the conversation to the Lord.
Wisdom. Patience. Love. Humility.
All I know is that I am poverty stricken in these qualities, the very characteristics of the Messiah. He is the One to look to.
Help me in my dealings with those you love.