“Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.] –John 14:27
This morning as I was making breakfast, my 6 year old and 4 year old got into a useless argument over an item they found on the bar. They began squabbling over who touched or took it first. The fight was ridiculous because the item didn’t belong to either one of them, so I settled it fairly quick. A few moments later my darling 6 year old daughter begins whining that her brother is “breathing at her”. I informed her that breathing was necessary and that she was “too easily offended”.
This little set of quirky squabbles reminded me of the chapter I read the other night from one of Joyce Meyers’ books. The chapter was discussing how we often “sweat the small stuff” and allow ourselves to be offended or upset over things we could have so easily ignored. In doing so, we fill our lives with constant worries and problems. She says how “Satan sets us up to get us upset!” I believe this. I’ve had it happen to me too many times and then look back on the “thing” that offended me and find that it had to have been a ploy of the “enemy” of my Lord to ruffle my feathers and steal my peace. I’ve become pretty good at rolling offenses off my back because I’ve learned that peace is of far more importance to me than whatever tried to steal it to begin with. The bible says in Song of Solomon “catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines. For our vines have tender grapes.” In other words, its sometimes the little things that can ruin a relationship.
Children may be masters of finding reasons to hold offense, but I’ve known adults who would make a career of it. The sad thing is that many times when someone has offended another, that person never meant to offend in the first place. Lack of communication, leads to distrust which leads to misunderstanding which leads to broken relationships and making enemies out of those who could have been friendly allies or beloved comrades in this journey of life. We are living in a society that has lost value in true friendship or so it seems. We prefer to communicate through inferior ways such as texting, email, and Facebook, rarely ever having real face to face contact with our “friends and family”. I’m not saying these technological things are bad in and of themselves; I’m saying that many only communicate through these ways and fail to realize that much is lost in hearing someone’s voice and seeing their expressions. And I clearly would never have time enough to expound on how many people have found reasons to be agitated over the lines of internet communication.
Perhaps we should make an effort to stop trying to find evil intentions around every corner and from every one we know. There is, unfortunately, plenty of real evil in this world that deserves our anger and needs to be addressed such as child abuse, murder, adultery, political unrest and upheavals, and other “big offenses” that ruin lives and break hearts. The truth of the matter is (and I truly want to believe this)….is that most people are not “out to get someone” or cause hurt intentionally. We are all broken in some way and allow our scars to surface when it appears that old wounds may be opened. How much better would our relationships be if all of us became more like our Lord and Savior who taught us to forgive and keep our emotions pure.
Life would be so much simpler if we took our “lemons” and made lemonade when it comes to our encounters with people. If we really thought about it there are numerous opportunities to become irritated and aggravated at someone on a daily basis (just living in a large family can open this door). Allowing for human error and misunderstanding would open more doors for warmer and more fulfilling relationships and 10 times more peace in this present life. Let’s stop worrying over things that have no eternal value and start placing more energy into what matters most…. our Savior God….people…and love.
“When we spend an excessive amount of time meditating on what people have done to us instead of what they have done for us we lose our joy. We develop a critical, murmuring, defensive attitude that displeases God. We can see much of the complication of life removed when we become willing to quickly and frequently forgive.” (Joyce Meyers)