Weekly Devotion 2-23-22

Weekly Devotion with Kim Wu

Truth be told, being Facebook friends with my pastor is one of the things that helps me stay kind on social media.

Before typing out a quick retort to the latest thing that I take exception to, I ask myself, would I want my pastor to see me react in this way?

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger…The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil…The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor.”  (Proverbs 15:1, 28, 33)

The Bible is incredibly clear that we are to be careful with our words.  When we use harsh words, our goal is almost always to elevate ourselves.  We are often driven by our own personal opinions and the opinions of our peers, rather than convictions based on the Word of God.  And when we do this, we become less than the person God has created us to be, and we compromise our ability to speak the gospel into others’ lives.

“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing…The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”  (Proverbs 12:18, 18:21)

“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.  For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”  (Luke 6:45) Our hearts have a great capacity to be cruel, unless we develop habits that fill our hearts with the good fruits of connection with Jesus as our Vine.

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”  (Romans 12:18)  We have the responsibility to be peacemakers.   Author Jen Wilkin refers to this as “the ministry of more than halfway.” We know what it is to be reconciled to our Father, and we are to take this experience of reconciliation to others.

Jamil Zaki, a psychology professor at Stanford, teaches a course called “Becoming Kinder.”  One focus in that class is learning how to disagree better, “to move beyond the first pass assessment of what someone believes and why we hate what they believe and into a deeper exploration of that person as an individual.”

Choose to believe the other person is a well-meaning person who just has different views which they acquired due to their own experiences, which are different from your own.   Be curious about their experiences, and leave room for both of you to evolve.  Let the Holy Spirit do its work, and create a safe space to listen and learn.

Evil does exist in this world, and there are people out there who are not well-meaning people.  In those cases, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.  On the contrary:  If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  (Romans 12:19-21) Place those people into God’s hands, and pray for them.

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