How Provocative Are You?

I understand the need to speak out against things that are wrong. More and more though, I hear – or sometimes read, things that are done in a way that appears to be meant to stir up trouble.

The tone is alarming. The message is not that x thing seemed to be about whatever. The tone is more about bringing up every wrong that has ever been done since the beginning of time. It’s almost like saying, “I knew it. This group of folks always acts this way!”

Sometimes, I have to wonder if the person complaining is trying to wave a flag over evil, or stir up anger. The tone is unforgiving and condemning. It’s like the person has a real ax to grind.

Unfortunately, the message is lost in the process because the deliverer is acting no better than the folks they are complaining about.

Sometimes what they are complaining about shocks me because from where I am standing, I did not see the offense. Regardless of what I can see, it is real to them.

Consider the following verses:

Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:17-21

Before God healed me of my past, I must admit that I looked at everything through a skewed prism of pain. The pain of rejection, the pain of hurtful words, the pain of hurtful actions colored everything. Instead of listening to what folks were saying and taking it at face value, I would play reruns in my head and question what they really thought.

Fear. Fear of more rejection, hurtful words, and hurtful actions dominated my life even though I did not realize it. If you had asked me if I suffered from fear, I would have said that I did not because I had fooled myself. That was one of many lies that I believed because of fear.
Many times in life, the banners we carry as we push back against the wrongs we see are driven by the pain and the fear in our hearts. Unfortunately, the fear makes things seem much worse than they really are. Sometimes the wrong we see is not really there, but since we believe it, it is our reality. Our fear has lied again. If not careful, we will be overcome with evil – both thoughts and actions – as our hearts are filled with a desire for vengeance.

LIFE APPLICATION

Today’s challenge is to realize that fear comes in many forms. We may not recognize the grip that it has on our lives. We need to take a step back. We need to pray.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7

Ask God to help you live in that spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Ask God to show you any control fear has over you. Ask God for healing.

%d bloggers like this: