So many words I wanted to say, hurtful words, as he lashed out at me. Yet something inside constrained me. It was just another encounter with him screaming at me, trying to get me to lash out at him. But for some reason I remained calm; for some reason I could see that this man was hurting deep inside.
Somehow, instead of hurtful words, I was able to say compassionate things to him. I was astounded when suddenly he broke down crying. There in that conference room, just the two of us sat as he told me about how his father died when he was a teenager. He related to me how he had to make his own way in the world; how he missed the guidance of a father.
It was an astounding turn of events in a meeting that started with him attacking me for everything that was wrong in his department. I was able to reassure him that we could get through it together. He looked at me with tears in his eyes and asked me to keep what happened between the two of us.
That was almost 30 years ago and it still reminds me of how the Spirit of God can act through us. My sinful self wants to lash back, to defend myself, to inflict harm on those who attack me, but the Spirit of God restrains me. Jesus reminds us in John 14:10: “The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.” When we abide in Jesus, we help others see God and the love and grace he offers.
© 2022, Chris G Thelen
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12
“These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. – John 14:25