“For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down. Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife. He who hates disguises it with his lips, but he lays up deceit in his heart. When he speaks graciously, do not believe him, for there are seven abominations in his heart.” Proverbs 26:20,21,24,25 NASB
Sometimes I like to look up words whose definitions I think I already know, and sometimes I am embarrassed by my lack of knowledge when I find out that there is more to the word than I had thought.
For example, in the passage above, I looked up two words:
- Contentious – means always ready to argue; quarrelsome.
- Hate – loathing, despising (but that’s not all); disliking or wishing to avoid or shrinking from (ouch)
I don’t normally think of myself as a contentious person. If you haven’t done anything to wound or offend me, I have no reason to be quarrelsome.
But as I was reading this passage, the Holy Spirit was whispering in my heart about a few people that I am never truly happy to see. They are very insecure deep down, and that insecurity causes them to lash out at others, me in particular, and when I have tried to approach them to tell them how I felt because God desires that we be reconciled, they have attacked me with their words and, thus, disallowed communication and true reconciliation.
So, when I see them, the thought of my heart is not grace, but the desire to be somewhere else with someone else. I know that God wants me to say gracious words, but the gracious words that I do say are not heartfelt with these people. They are forced obedience at best.
According to these verses, though, they are like a deceitful veneer that covers something not so pretty.
So, here’s the dilemma. If these people disallow communication and, thereby, reconciliation, how am I to move past this roadblock and clear the way for heartfelt graciousness?
According to these verses, I am holding wickedness in my heart. If I am so desirous of avoiding these people, if I see them and immediately want to turn around and go the opposite direction, according to Websters, I have been harboring hate in my heart, as much as I’d like to deny it. “Who me? I hate somebody? I’m sorry, you have the wrong number.” Click.
But God tells it like it is. Denying His truth is the surest way to stay in bondage.
So, how do I get past the roadblock?
- I need to stop blaming my feelings on the other person and recognize that I am my own roadblock.
- I need to realize that sometimes I am my own whisperer, adding fuel to the fire by my own negativity and allowing myself to allocate space in my thought life to remember what they did or said. To put out the fire, I need to stop adding fuel to it.
- I need to let it go! (Then I won’t be Frozen in one spot anymore! 🙂 )
- I need to forgive. (Pretty much the same as letting it go.)
- I need to say NO to those thoughts, to boot them out of my thought life by fully surrendering them to God and letting Him decide how best to handle the problem.
- I need to confess these sins to God, agreeing with Him that this twisted up mess of anger, hate, pride, self-centeredness, bitterness, unforgiveness, and a judgemental spirit (yep, that’s seven abominations) is gross and despicable and out of place in the heart of a child of God.
- If I’m still mad, I need to transfer that anger from that person over to the devil who is the real enemy, and get mad at him for keeping me (and maybe that person, too) in bondage for so long. Then I need to take authority over him in the name of JESUS, that he be gone, in Jesus’ Name, and stop stirring up the fire of contention!
- I need to completely repent, opening up my heart to the filling of God’s Spirit who is love and is able to truly love that person through me.
He does not just lay a veneer of grace nor just pour a glaze of grace. He gives us the real thing freely, and He wants us to give the real thing freely as well.
When we let Him have complete rule of our hearts, He is able to give that love and grace through us to others, including the ones we have been perceiving to be unlovable.
He loves them as much as He loves us, and He wants to extend His grace to them just as surely as He wants to extend it to us.
So, let’s shut out self and the devil and open our hearts fully to God today!
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