First, let me extend a big southern welcome to gals visiting me from Lysa's blog! I'd pour you a glass of sweet tea but I'm getting ready to board a plane to Baltimore, MD for a Tuesday evening speaking engagement. So I'm guzzling green tea out of a Snapple bottle this morning.
I'm so glad you visited me, and so hoping you'll win today's drawing for the devotional book. Here's the secret deal - if you post a comment here today and you happen to be the winner Lysa draws, I'll throw in a special surprise with your book and Starbucks gift card! Shhh, don't tell, just go post in both places (Lysa's blog and mine).
Now if you haven't seen our devotional book before, it contains 175 of our devotions in a slightly shorter format than our online devotions. I'll give you a little taste of it with an example below.
But first, I'm just going to frankly admit that the holidays can bring chances to come face-to-face with people we may have preferred to avoid. Family gatherings can become prime opportunities for hurt feelings or tempers to flare. We get short-tempered with our spouse, for instance, over little things like which sweater (or t-shirt) he wears for the occasion. Grudges with siblings or cousins are dredged up. Old feelings of competition are sparked. The festivities are dampened, and the light of Christ in us somehow fades. With that in mind, maybe this devotion will be "food for thought" for your next holiday dinner and mine.
*Excerpted from God's Purpose for Every Woman (Harvest House, 2007):
By Rachel Olsen
People with good sense restrain their anger; they earn esteem by overlooking wrongs. Proverbs 19:11 (NLT)
I gasped as the ice-dancing pair both fell in the final seconds of their routine. They had come out of retirement to skate in the Olympics before their home crowd, and skated well enough in the first round to be in first place heading into the second round of the three-day competition.
Both partners recovered from the fall in time to hit their final pose as the music ended. They headed to center rink where they’re expected to take bows. It was then the real drama began. The woman faced her partner with an intense look. Was she hurt? She stood staring at him for the longest time. The camera angle widened, allowing us to see his face also. At first he looked disappointed, then confused, and then he simply matched her stare.
As the staring contest wore on, the crowd grew quiet and uncomfortable. By this point it was clear she was communicating tremendous disapproval with her icy look. I suspect this man wanted nothing more than to take his partner’s hand, shrug off their shared disappointment, and take their bows – but his manhood was being challenged, in public no less.
Eventually they did bow and head to the “kiss and cry” to await their scores. She still didn’t give it a rest. She was not looking at the scores, crowd, or camera, but mostly glaring over at him in anger. As a skating fan, I’ve seen many drops, mistakes and falls, yet I’ve never seen a partner behave like this afterwards. They dropped from first place to seventh with one round left to skate, and the sun went down on her anger.
The next day the pair entered the arena separately, warmed up separately and didn’t speak a word to each other. You could cut the tension backstage with a knife. This behavior continued until they joined hands on the ice to begin their final routine. Both partners skated beautifully and the world waited to see what her reaction would be. She was pleased, so she dramatically hugged and kissed him. I’ve never seen a clearer picture of performance-based love.
Like this ice princess, I am prone to use the icy silent treatment when I’m mad at my spouse. I can say from experience that it’s not healthy, nor productive. The silent treatment communicates: If you do not please me 100%, you no longer exist in my world. After reading Matthew 5:21-22, I’m guessing Jesus would consider this method of anger-management murderous.
The Bible advises against performance-based love, and advocates grace-based love instead. Proverbs 19:11 explains we should be slow to anger and quick to forgive. The Message puts it this way, “Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget.” We’re also advised to stop mulling over our grievances.
First Corinthians 13 explains that a loving person is not irritable or demanding, and does not carry a grudge (vs. 4-5). After all, it’s hard to be graceful with a grudge in hand. Have you been full of grace lately, or slightly icy?