For the past two weeks I have been on study leave working on my Doctoral thesis. It has been fun to go through the mounds of transcripts and piece together common words and themes. It’s been a lot like putting a puzzle together. I have been loving the process.
But the last week or two has not been all together perfect. Earlier, a dear friend got caught up in a nasty situation of “he said, she said”. My friend was heartbroken by the way they had been misunderstood and misrepresented and wanted to make it right, and fast. My friend turned to me and together we spent many hours in conversation and prayer over this distressing situation.
The temptation was to throw a bomb or two, to fire back and set the record straight. Call the accuser back or send them a nasty email. Gratefully, however, they didn’t.
Here’s what my friend did do, and what I think we should all do, should we find ourselves in this kind of situation.
Number one: STOP! BREATHE! Breathe in ... Breathe out! Do not push “send” or “post.” Don’t call back right away with accusations or excuses because if you do you are likely to turn a messy situation into sheer chaos.
Here are a few things to remember:
1. The truth will always win and the truth will always set you free. It may not be in your timing or to your liking but truth always triumphs.
2. The moment you shift into retaliation mode it will only cause the problem to expand. Proverbs tells us, “A quick-tempered person does foolish things, and the one who devises evil schemes is hated.” Resist the temptation to fire back. Time is on your side. Paul wrote to Timothy and said,
“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:23-26)
So here are a few things my friend put into practice, good advice for all of us:
1. WAIT 24 hours (give or take) prior to making any kind of response and particularly if writing a response;
2. PRAY for that person during the 24 hours. Believe me, this is much harder than it sounds;
3. EDIT If you are sending a response have someone read your reply and make edits before sending it. Make sure your words are gentle and written in Godly love; and
4. TAKE THE HIGH ROAD Jesus faced accusers and naysayers everyday. He never defended himself. He allowed His life, His character, and integrity to stand up for Him. Be like Jesus.
My prayer is that you never find yourself in the distressing situation my friend was put in. But if ever you are, I pray that you like my friend, will keep a level head. Remember who you are in Christ, speak truth, rise above and take the high road.