Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Matter of Perspective

Ephesians 4:29-32 (New International Version)
29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Psalm 4:4 (New International Version)
4 In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Selah

Yesterday, I wrote about saying something that was true “from my perspective.” God was speaking to my heart about the need to guard against anger and judgment. Today I find myself thinking about the short phrase, “from my perspective,” and I realize that God isn’t finished with me yet on this topic.

Anger and judgment are the opposites of grace and mercy and have the effect of closing my ears to another’s perspective. I hate to admit it, but I can be so sure of the facts, when I only have part of the picture and am guessing at the rest.

It’s the right thing to engage with someone with the intent of resolving a conflict. I want to learn to do it in the right way, with an open mind, ears and heart and free from anger. This is so much easier to know than do.

Prayer: Dear God, do you never tire of wrestling the various parts of me into submission? Today it’s my ears; please give me open ears to truly hear another’s point of view before expressing my own. I recognize this area as a weakness, especially when the speaker is pointing out something I could have done better. I admit that I tend not to want to do the hard work of listening – to make the effort of shifting my thinking to the possibility that I could be wrong. No doubt you are going to give me an opportunity to practice this very soon; when you do, please help me to reflect your acute ability to listen well.

James 1:19 (New International Version)
19My dear brothers, take note of this:

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