Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Thankful for Grace

I'm nice most of the time. 
I'm happy most of the time. 
I'm striving to follow Christ most of the time.

But when my guard is down, I can be evil.

In the moments after my anger is provoked, I can turn into something far less flattering than what I want to be.  Like a doctor-jekyl-and-mister-hyde type monster that impulsively says or does the first thing it's capable of doing.  Like I've lost all control for those few seconds...or minutes...until I remember who I am in Christ and surrender my emotions to Him.

I've said some pretty awful things to those I love in those blinded seconds.  I've been mean, ridiculous, unforgiving, hurtful, hateful, spiteful, revengeful, and worse.


My husband is used to my periodic short angry outbursts, the stupid things I say when I'm frustrated, the ones that I don't really mean at all once my emotions switch from anger to sadness to remorse to shame, when I hang my head and cry.  Honestly, I don't think he takes me very seriously anymore, which maybe I've used as an excuse not to change.  After all, he knows I don't really mean it.  And it's over so fast that I'm the same happy, funny person in no time...sometimes before he even realizes what's going on.

In a strange parallel, I awoke this morning to a tattling 6-year-old whose sister had just told her that all her stuffed animals were dumb and that she wouldn't play with her for a year.  Pretty obviously ridiculous, right?  Wonderful Christian mom that I am, I had a discussion with my nine-year-old daughter about how her words and actions reveal what is truly in her heart.  If the things she chooses to say and do are mean, untrue, and serve no purpose except to hurt or control, then what does that say about her heart?  Is the desire of her heart to truly serve and follow Jesus?  If so, shouldn't the things she says to other people reflect that?

One of my better talks, if I do say so myself.

Feeling smug, I got breakfast ready and then went to check my email, finding a note that my husband had forwarded me concerning a scheduling conflict we're trying to resolve between a dress rehearsal for our church's childrens' choir (which he directs) and our daughters' ballet recital.  There was something in the email (it turned out to be an error) which I could have simply asked about, but instead I instantly jumped to the conclusion that he didn't care as much as I do that he attended the recital.  Within seconds, I had hammered out an impulsive, uncaring, and disrespectful comment.  I even had the thought while typing, "Well, this isn't very Christlike, Lisa.", to which I shot back "Oh, well!" and violently hit send.

It was then that I realized that I sent my reply to the church secretary instead of to my husband.

{insert crickets chirping} 
Did I really just do that? 
Yes, in fact, I did.
Oh. My. Goodness. 

As I found out this morning, emails, unlike words, can't be taken back.

Wait a minute.  Words can't be taken back either, can they?  I just think they can.  I think that when I've calmed down, apologized, and gone back to being the "Good Christian Girl", that my impulsive comments have left no mark on my marriage or my children. 

This simply isn't true.

And after the initial embarrassment of realizing I'd just sent a nasty reply to an innocent church secretary, I also had to humble myself and claim a few other blatant sins.

1. I did NOT control my tongue (or in this case my fingers).  Rather, I lashed out in anger.

2. This is definitely NOT the first time it's happened.  I'm a repeat offender.

3. I did NOT respect my husband by calmly questioning him and giving him the opportunity to clarify.

4. I am a great big hypocrite.


I accept this humiliation as discipline from a loving God who finds me worthy of teaching and molding.  I am humbled, and I'm profoundly thankful for the grace of my Father, my husband, and a certain secretary.  I'm committed to working on it, taking the advice I gave to my daughter this morning and applying it more consistently to my own life...changing my heart from the inside out. 

I don't want to be a hypocrite; I don't want to teach my children one thing and practice another, nor do I want to misrepresent Christ with my actions.

But since I'm a work in progress and am bound to stumble on occasion, I ask one thing of you:

If you ever get a nasty email from me, please graciously disregard it...and then forward it to my husband.  There's a good chance it was meant for him.

Matthew 12:34 (ESV)
You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

James 3:5-6 (NIV)
Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

1 comment:

  1. Just found your blog. We have many things in common (including, but not limited to, adoption). Your words are both humbling and hysterical because I can so see that happening in my life! I can talk the talk with my kids ad nauseum but God in His infinite wisdom gave me those same kids to teach me about myself. Thanks for sharing!