Have you ever heard words from another that hurt so deeply because you felt at your core that they didn’t really see the situation properly? Did you ever feel misunderstood when being reproved?
A situation occurred recently in my life in which someone corrected me. I have asked this person at various times to please let me know if they see something off in my life. But when the individual said the words, it really seemed her perspective was not quite on. I felt hurt. Misunderstood. Like I didn’t want to be as close to this person as I had in the past.
He showed me that, as a Trinity, He is united in perfect fellowship. As Father, Son, and Spirit, He is perfect Love. His desire for believers is that we, too, have “fervent charity” among ourselves (I Peter 4:8), that we “endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:3). So I knew that, even though relationships can become messy and sticky and uncomfortable, I couldn’t by any means treat this person with a casual relationship or diminish the significance of the person’s words.
We set up an appointment to talk, but I wanted to get God’s mind on the issue first. I examined myself in light of the individual’s words but wasn’t getting clarity. I looked into the Word and saw in my devotions a situation reflecting my own from the Psalms. But I still didn’t arrive at conclusions. However, when I looked into Proverbs the following day, God showed me exactly my own problem, brought clarity to my thinking, and helped me to correct a wrong pattern that had developed in my life. I was so grateful that I hadn’t chosen to make null and void the words from this dear sibling in Christ.
God clarified in my spirit that, to respond by avoiding this person or annulling what she had said would be to respond in pride. His Spirit works as we humble ourselves before Him.
While my sister in Christ was not quite on in her evaluation, her words assisted a journey to ask the Lord the root of something in my heart, and He showed me in living color where I needed to turn to Him.
“Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath,” James tells us (1:19). God does not want us to become irritated inside when someone speaks a truth perspective into our ears. Even if they haven’t exactly hit the nail on the head, God wants us to listen and examine our hearts to see “if there be any wicked way in us" (Ps. 139:24). He wants His people to live in unity, fellowship, and harmony with one another. Although relationships with people can become sticky, He longs for His own to “seek peace and pursue it" (Ps. 34:14; 1 Peter 3:11).
In fact, Christian community and fellowship with each other is one incredible feature of God’s church. That fallen creatures can live through the power of His Spirit in peaceful, harmonious, and beautiful relationships is none other than the product of Spirit-filled living. But God’s working in us demands that each of us “be clothed with humility" (I Peter 5:5). The gracious God of the universe has actually promised to resist us if we respond in pride! But grace—His amazing grace, the kind that sent Christ to earth—will fill us and enable us as we humble ourselves before Him.
Oh, let us pursue such openness with our siblings in Christ that we will be propelled to the throne of grace, with hearts worked over by Christ’s own humbleness of mind! Let each of us be quick to hear, slow to speak, and ready to let the Spirit shape us in yet one other area of life.
And each day until eternity!