This is part three of a five week series on the power of words. We have all been impacted by the words of another. Some words have imbued us with confidence, while others have deflated us. We are created to be communicators. So, when there are words, how do we use them well?
Let’s explore this over the next few weeks. I hope you’ll join me and add your thoughts to the conversation! If you want to read previous posts, click: When There Are Words.
It all began with a phone call.
As soon as the school’s number showed on my Caller ID, I knew my day was about to change. I just had no idea how drastically.
When the words, “Kicked in the head a couple times.” “Dizzy” and “Blurry vision” came into the conversation, my mama’s heart began to worry for this son of mine.
After hearing the details and asking some questions, I decided that, yes, the boy needed to come home to rest and be watched.
When I neared the school, I made a couple of decisions that . . . weren’t the wisest. And I quickly gained the eye of a police officer. I had misread a situation.
And she misread me.
I wanted to be angry. Only I knew she had a difficult job.
I wanted to defend myself, only I knew that nothing could change the choices I’d made.
And though I knew my choices were for the sake of my boy, she saw a different picture. Because she had information I wasn’t privy to.
She made judgments, and I clamped my mouth shut. Because every now and then, silence truly is the best answer.
Sometimes a humble apology is the better way.
After she explained what I’d done wrong and what she thought she saw in my actions, I said I was sorry. And I was.
There are times when we get things wrong. We make decisions that seem right, but for some reason, they aren’t. We make choices because they are for another person’s good. But the way we go about fulfilling them violates something.
When we’ve messed up and the stakes are high, we need to be quiet. Sometimes, there are no words that can make things right. And there are especially no words that can make our choice—as noble as it may be—look shiny and good.
We need to acknowledge this.
Sometimes humility is a difficult choice because our emotions get wrapped up in the circumstances.
One thing I learned through this experience is that I mustn’t allow my emotions to dictate a situation.
I know this when I’m dealing with an officer of the law. And I (for the most part) have the self-control to keep my mouth shut.
But what about with those who are close to me? Those who don’t have the authority to issue a ticket for words spoken?
There will be times when I blow it with my husband, my kids, my friends. I’m going to make decisions that, in the moment, seem right, justifiable. But the big picture ramifications are broader than I can see.
When someone nicely—or not—points this out to me, what will my reaction be?
Am I going to defend myself? Try to make them understand why I chose the way I did?
Or, am I going to receive the rebuke, the correction?
Honestly? I’m not good at receiving correction in the moment. I need time to process it, ponder it, pray over it.
And sometimes, even then, I may not agree with it. The way I respond to a person can make or ruin a relationship.
With my family and friends, I want to choose love. It’s okay to disagree with another. How we do it will determine a number of things.
How safe we are to those people.
Our response tells the other person a lot. And they will make decisions about future interactions with us based on how we receive and respond to rebuke.
When we are teachable—humble—relationships are strengthened because the other person sees depth in us.
When we defend ourselves, we tell that person we’re placing ourselves—our importance—above them.
Choosing humility is hard. But, this is also a response that is pleasing in our Father’s sight.
Do we want to be right . . . or right with God?
What about you? When have you chosen humility in a situation? How do you handle valid rebukes?