Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Right Thing To Say

photo curtesy of kimmcilrathphotography.com

Have you ever had someone tell you something pretty big and important and you don't know how to respond.  I had someone tell me something recently that was a pretty earth shattering revelation to them. I had already known it was coming but for them to admit it to me was a HUGE step.  

I struggle in those moments knowing what to say.  I go between the "right thing to say" and the "appropriate thing to say."  They can be two different reactions.  

After studying James 1:19-27, verse 19 specifically comes to mind "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..."  In the past, I had been known to not speak until I had something good to say but I feel like in the past few years its been the opposite. I launch off with an attempt to fix or mend the problem, not stopping to hear what the Holy Spirit might want me to say.  

So I sat there with this friend, praying "Lord, give me the right words."  They never came.  The words I wanted to say would have been either hurtful or condescending and I knew those were not the ones that needed to come out at that time.  They would have been out of anger or a sense of justice but not out of love.  So finally I just said "I really don't know what to say to you."  That person knew that what they told me wasn't going to sit well with me and that humanly speaking I had every right to say some hurtful things to them.  But my love for them and my desire to see the best for them won over.  The verbal reaction I had to them was fairly benign which I think in the moment was a good one.

A sense of pride wells up in moments like that.  A desire to be the one to swoop in and make it all better. If you say or do the write things, lives will be restored and victory will be had.  In reality, it either ends with you saying what you think is the right thing and it falls on deaf ears or you say nothing at all and they are exactly where they were when they admitted their truth to you.  Both leaving you feeling deflated and defeated.

Knowing what to do in those moments is just so tough.  Although I had no words for this friend, I knew that I didn't say the wrong thing but also that its not my problem to fix.  God did not put me on this earth to mend broken hearts. Yes, at times I might be the tool He uses to bring some sort of restoration to someone but I am not the one bringing the restoration. He is.  I need to stop trying to figure out how to "fix" people and allow the Spirit to work in me even if it means staying silent in moments of deep grief.  Being quick to listen and to be a stable presence could possibly be my only role in that moment.

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