I must admit that I scoffed at the idea that seven-year-old, Jehoash, was king of Israel and reigned for forty years.
What would a kid know?
But then I had an opportunity to observe my six-year-old make some really wise decisions in the heat of the moment. Suddenly, I knew that it was more than possible because children have a unique, unadulterated perspective of the world. Their lack of experience with life allows them to share unbridled wisdom.
A few weeks ago, she hit me with a doozy of a lesson.
A kindergarten classmate spat on her. I remember when she calmly described the scene; her dad and I both wondered how she responded so he asked her, “did you hit him?”
With obvious bewilderment, my daughter responded, “No. That would hurt him. Why would I want to do that?”
Her response hit me in the gut.
Sometimes I wish there was a little red devil on my right shoulder so I could blame him for my attitudes and behaviors because my response to being wronged is not always loving.
There are days when the mean girl within wants me to pay the person back (hurt for hurt), instead of paying it forward (sacrificially giving where nothing was given).
There are days when the mean girl within wants me to indulge my desire to play the martyr who has been wrongly injured while I blame others for my reactions.
But then I hear my little girl’s words, and I recall Paul who wrote, “... though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!” (Hebrews 5:11).
Paul forces me to acknowledge that my reactions are spiritually immature.
My reactions are from the natural girl who was buried, not of the supernatural Christ who lives in me. It is of the world.
While the world’s reactions are circumstantial and emotional, those of us in Christ have been called to endure and suffer long and respond with a love that does not dishonor others and is not self-seeking (2 Cor. 13).
We have been called to respond with the love of God which transcends circumstances, and doesn’t look to what was, but places its hope in what can be.
So it is in Christ, where my hope lies, that my perspective shifts, because through His persecution, He canceled out all blame and all need for retribution and vindication
Instead of responding how the world responds, I choose Christ.
Instead of responding how the world responds, I choose love because it is in the heat of the moment when I may desire to place all of my temporary emotions: my anger, heartache, or fear, into that situation that occurred that I lose the leverage of the opportunity I have to show Jesus to that person and potentially affect his eternity
Do you have days where the mean girl wants to react, too?
Friend, choose Christ with me today. If the mean girl inside you wants to react to situations, instead of responding with the love of God, tell her that Christ lives here.
If the mean girl inside you wants to play the martyr, display the attitude of Christ, and tell her that Christ lives here.
Because it is in the heat of those moments when we respond instead of react that we have the greatest opportunity to share Christ.
Word of the Day:
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Colossians 3:12-15 (MSG)
Father, you know my innermost thoughts and see all of my wicked ways, but still you love me. Thank you for the deep devotion you have for me and for the love that never fails. Thank you for drawing me near when my heart is far away. Today, I ask that you give me discernment to navigate circumstances, that I may respond like Christ, instead of reacting like the world, in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.