I recently messed up and hurt someone I care about. Careless words tumbled out of my emotional mouth and caused pain. Impatient with circumstances of life outside of my control and filled with self seeking pride, I felt it my duty to open my mouth in an effort to quickly insert my foot. So I did, and can I just tell you my foot tasted terrible for about two days.
Whenever I find myself in this foot in mouth situation, I first spend some time wallowing in self pity and loathing. I usually like to follow that up with about 24 hours of silent justification. Silent justification is when I replay the entire situation over and over again mentally in an effort to collect reasons to personally justify my aforementioned choices. For the record: This time is never productive or healthy. After I complete step 1 & 2 of this self assigned cycle, I begin to seek reconciliation. Reconciliation is an act of humility and because of my pride, it takes me awhile to move in this direction.
As we study James 5, I am encouraged by the idea of patience and the comparison God makes of this growth to a farmer’s harvest.
7 Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen.8 You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.
9 Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door!
James 5: 7-9
James’ reminds me that I am going to mess up. I am going to hurt my fellow man. I am going to have bad days and good days; days of learning and days of growing. However, the reality of my imperfection does not give me license to disobey the commands I read in scripture. As I closely read this passage I can see four imperative statements. (Imperative simply means “giving an authoritative command”)
Imperative Commands/Statements found in James 5: 7-9:
- Be patient with others and myself.
- Anticipate the Lord’s return.
- Have courage in Christ Jesus.
- Don’t grumble about your brother’s and sisters.
So here I am, disappointed in my choices and ready to experience the peace of reconciliation. According to what I studied, I have to be patient with myself and others as I experience the growth process. I need to live as though my Savior will return at any moment. I need to act in courage because I belong to Christ and I need to lay down my desire to complain about others.
I actively lived out the imperatives. I decided to be patient with my own growth and accept that I make mistakes. I refocused my mind and heart on my Savior’s return. I took courage in the fact that my Lord and Savior is Jesus Christ and humbled myself in prayer. I laid down my right to grumble about worldly frustrations and I went to my friend and said two simple words; “I’m sorry.”
For the record: Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. Proverbs 16:24. Plus, they taste much better than my foot.
Praying you have a blessed week while you experience the grace and peace of following the imperatives of Christ.