“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Matthew 6:12
Out of good intentions which have not been tempered by true godly patience and wisdom, there is the tendency to speak out of turn or to go too far with words we may had intended originally to bring peace instead of discord. The past few days my patience has had to be tempered in dealing with a very well meaning person who had a wonderful piece of truth to tell me, but then in thinking I did not listen to her continued onward in trying to correct my ways as she thought I should seek out the Lord and follow through with what she had originally told me.
I have to say, it is difficult to stay silent and patient when the Lord is speaking to you in one way and an untempered believer is trying to make you see truth from her perspective. It would be easy for me to turn and judge in return for the impatience she seemingly has towards my outward lack of fervency in what she talked to me about, but out of compassion and understanding of once having been in her shoes and not understanding how to speak truth in the context of being merciful, humble, meek, and longsuffering I have chosen to leave that matter to the Lord, to be forgiving in my attitude towards her and let the Lord convict her of what He feels is necessary.
When Paul wrote to the Colossians, he was telling them to live the same way. It is difficult to live in close proximity with other believers because you do not only see the Lord working amongst you, but you also are able to make keen observances of the flaws of one another too. The Lord asks us as believers who have been given the ability to live with such transparency amongst other brethren to admonish one another, to seek peace, to love one another towards the bond of perfection, to let Christ dwell in us as the perfect form of wisdom amongst each other, and to live within the confines which the fruit the Spirit provides.
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:12-17
There are warnings to be found in the bible too about speaking out of turn and how our lives must be the primary focus of our own devotion and worship, because when we get too focused on the lives of others we get out of balance. It is the “log in your own eye” mentality that needs to be always primary in our hearts and minds over what we think is the “splinter in our neighbors' eye” that we would much rather focus on. Here are some further scriptures to ponder as you think about this concept:
“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29-32
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” James 3:13-18
As I stated earlier, this was a lesson I had to learn the hard way – by sticking my well intended foot in my mouth a few too many times. From these misaligned steps, I have learned the hard way that the gift of prophesy must be tempered before allowed to take form in words that have been given time to stew in my heart and mind because when words of truth are allowed to mingle with my sinful nature then what I am tempted to say to another is not a pure word from the Lord and will only cause strife between myself and other believers.
As I close out my blog today, I am reminded that God is doing a work in each believer to perfect us into becoming more like Him. Taking my own broken spirit before Him each day, realizing my sinful nature and my need for His salvation is all part of that continuing humble path I walk each day and which I live out for those around me who are watching me, whether they completely understand my calling from the Lord or not. To God alone I answer for my own decisions, for how I take the truth He reveals to me and accept His correction, and for how I chose to follow the path He sets before me to spend my time, relationships, and resources. It is a journey along a broken path, and the more I realize how broken your my path is, the more willing I am to wait on the Lord before seeking to restore the path of another.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.” Psalm 51:17