The following was this weeks Evotion from Christian Womanhood. It is too good not to make sure many more people see it. Have you ever felt the way this evotion describes? I sure have. If you don't already receive these weekly, I highly recommend signing up for the HERE. They come to your inbox free of charge and I've never read one that didn't help me in some way.
Thought for the week: A Gift in Secret
By: Molly Audiss
Verse for the week: Proverbs 21:14, "A gift in secret pacifieth anger: and a reward in the bosom strong wrath."
If there is a set of universal laws concerning the Christian life, this has got to be one of the laws: You can only change you. Each week, I share a little thought about some way that each of us can strive to do better and challenge ourselves to live a little more like Christ. The only person in the world whom you can change is yourself. That is why I do not spend much time reflecting on what others do to you but only on what you can do for others. I am aware, though, that others can cause you pain, through no fault of your own. We live in a world of human beings, and sometimes we are going to be treated wrongly and unfairly. What then?
As you go from day to day, you are going to encounter people who just do not like you, and it may boggle your mind, as you know that you have never done anything mean to them. Let me state again that you cannot hope to change them, but you can keep yourself from becoming bitter. This article is an attempt to remind each of us how to keep our thoughts positive toward people that feel negatively toward us. Let me share a verse that I discovered when I was in college. I know this story is silly and trivial, but it does describe the lesson I learned.
I had a friend who dated the same guy for a few years. They
broke up soon after starting college. I knew this guy somewhat,
but not well. At least a year after they broke up, this boy
asked me for a date. We went on one date, and I realized that
we were not meant for each other. Meanwhile, each time that I
saw my friend in the hall, she acted very distant. I naturally
assumed that she did not like the fact that I went on a date with
her ex-boyfriend. I was thinking of a way to "patch things up"
when I read Proverbs 21:14, "A gift in secret pacifieth anger:
and a reward in the bosom strong wrath."
I looked closely at that verse, and I thought, A gift in secret-how does the gift cool the anger of the person who gets the gift if they do not know who sent it? That's when it dawned on me- the gift does not cool the receiver's anger; it pacifies the giver's anger. You are not to give a gift as a bribe to help someone stop being mad at you; you are to give a gift in secret so that you will have no ill feelings toward that person. I decided to try out this verse. I bought a nice gift, wrapped it, and got it to my friend without her knowing who it was from. To this day she does not know that I sent the gift. But here is what happened: from that day on, whenever I saw her, and many years later, we are still friends.
When I say a "gift," I don't mean that it has to be a literal present. Matthew 6:21 says, "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." This means that whatever or whomever we invest in, we will love. If you put your treasure in a person (be it gifts, money, time, good deeds, or prayer), you are going to love that person. The Bible promises that your heart will be with anyone in whom you invest. WOW! I can do that!
Is there someone who has hurt you? How can you keep from hating them? Invest in them. It is simple, but it is not easy. It takes the removal of pride to do this, and pride is hard to remove. If someone is mean to me, the last thing I want to do is invest in them, but that is the only way to ensure that I do not live a life of bitterness. By the way, bitterness and hatred only hurt you; they do not hurt the other guy. It is not a good revenge to hate someone, because they don't get punished; you do. Again, the Bible demands we do the opposite of what is natural. It will take the help of the Holy Spirit.
I used a funny example of a date in college, but I fully realize that there are very serious hurts in this world. I am talking about divorce, yours or your parents'. I am talking about abuse- physical, verbal, or sexual. I am talking about slander. I am talking about unfaithfulness. I am talking about lies and so many other horrible issues. And, yes, to all of these I am saying that the way to save yourself is to invest in that person who has hurt you. Pray for them, do good to them, and do not return evil for evil (Matthew 5:44).
© Adorning Grace 2011