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Tag Archives: Wendy Blight

  • When You're Wrong, Even Though You're Right

    Posted on December 3, 2012 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy Blight

    "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)

     

    My stomach churned in a mix of grief and anger. I was shocked with disbelief. A Bible study leader I knew had blatantly disobeyed God's truths. I was frustrated, and honestly I was angry, too.

    Righteous anger. Have you ever experienced it? That justifiable anger that rises up within you when you know someone is acting in a way that dishonors God. That anger Jesus expressed when He walked into the Temple and found the moneychangers doing business in God's house, defiling Holy ground.

    Righteous anger is a good thing. However, what we do with it is another matter.

    I shared my feelings about this leader's behavior with my husband and another couple during dinner one night. Was I gossiping? In the moment, I didn't think so. In fact, I felt okay talking about this leader since they'd engaged in behavior I thought was "unchristian."

    Everyone at dinner agreed with me and disapproved, which validated my feelings. I took comfort in how good it felt that I wasn't alone.

    However, the next day as I sat in church, God spoke in a powerful way through the sermon. Our pastor taught about idle gossip and character assassination, and how our words matter. Each word penetrated my heart like a double-edged sword.

    I too was a spiritual leader. And I had disobeyed God's Word as I judged another believer in the presence of others. Had I talked out of righteous anger? No. Idle gossip? Yes. Character assassination? Definitely.

    In the quietness of that moment in church, I felt conviction.

    Not guilt. Not shame. But conviction.

    The difference between these emotions is that guilt and shame are about us, and they are unproductive. They leave us stagnant, in a bad place with God and others.

    Conviction, on the other hand, is about God. It's a productive emotion from the Holy Spirit to let us know that we have not pleased Him. With conviction, God speaks truth into our hearts and empowers us to change so we live in a way that's pleasing to Him.

    That day, the Holy Spirit gave me a truth that I committed to memory.

    "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (Ephesians 4:29 NIV)

    I promised the Lord that morning, I will hold my tongue. I will only speak words that will build others up and benefit those listening. Or, at least, I will try.

    Paul gives a great tip on how to accomplish this in 2 Corinthians 10:5:

    "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (NIV)

    Next time, I commit to take my words captive BEFORE they come out of my mouth. I pray that I will not speak words that tear down, but only words that build up. Will you join me in this resolve?

    Dear Lord, help me to be a woman after Your own heart, one who speaks only what is helpful for building others up. And when I am tempted to speak unwholesome or critical words, help me to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Thank You that in Your strength I will be successful because I can do all things through You Who strengthens me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: The Transforming Power of God's Story by Wendy Blight.

    Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond:
    How can you take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ? List some practical examples from your own experiences.

    Ephesians 5:1 calls us to live a life of love. Spend some time thinking about how this call to live a life of love intersects the call to speak only words that build others up rather than tear them down.

    Power Verse:
    2 Corinthians 10:5, "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Wendy Blight

  • The Bitter Root

    Posted on November 5, 2012 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy Blight

    "See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." Hebrews 12:15 (NIV 1984)

    Anger welled within me. How dare she ask this of me ... of us? I reread her email, which only fueled my fury. Rather than reply immediately, I decided to forward it to my husband for his advice. Any words I would have written to her directly would have been unkind.

    I poured out my "how dare she" thoughts. Bitterness took root as I typed and typed, spewing all my pent up frustration. When I finished, I reviewed my message with great satisfaction. I'd expressed myself well in a safe place to a safe person. Then I pressed send.

    In that moment, I glanced at the "to" box. I could not believe my eyes! Instead of hitting "forward," I'd hit "reply." My heart sank. All my hurtful words, all my vented anger, were in route to her, not my husband.

    I felt sick. Never had I experienced the myriad of emotions that filled my heart.

    What should I do? I called my husband and asked for his wisdom. We both agreed that I needed to email her, explain what happened, and ask forgiveness. It was the hardest email I've ever written.

    Her gracious response astounded me. She thanked me for my apology and ended with these words, "I forgive you, so let's just put this behind us."

    Tears streamed down my cheeks as her words of forgiveness melted the bitterness that had consumed my heart just an hour before.

    I'm sure she was hurt. My words were harsh. Yet she chose to overlook and pardon my offense.

    It's easy to forget that when we've been offended, we have two choices. We can go to God and surrender our hurt, or we can resist God and hold on to the hurt. We can extend grace or harbor bitterness.

    Bitterness is like poison that infects every area of our lives. The author of Hebrews compares bitterness to a root that overtakes our hearts and causes trouble not only in the infected area but also in many other areas of our lives. (Hebrews 12:15 NIV 1984)

    And although our feelings of bitterness, anger and unforgiveness may seem justified, they are not. Instead, they're often hurtful and destructive, to us and the person who hurt our feelings.

    God's Word teaches us to choose forgiveness and instructs us not to let the sun go down while we are angry. When we do, we give the devil a place to work in our hearts and in our relationships.

    Instead of allowing the enemy any room to grow between us, my friend chose forgiveness, extended grace and prevented a bitter root from taking hold.

    She became a living example of the grace expressed in Ephesians 4:32 which says, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (NIV 1984) Her wise example helped me move beyond my initial reaction of anger to her email.

    My friend's gracious decision to forgive prevented Satan from dividing our friendship. It also modeled humility. Her choice to forgive has changed how my heart will react toward others who offend me. From that day forward, I have prayed for God's grace, not bitterness, to flow through me.

    Dear Lord, search me and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any bitterness in me. Lead me to forgiveness, enable me through the power of Your Holy Spirit to let go of all bitterness and extend Your amazing grace. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: The Transforming Power of God's Story by Wendy Blight

    Reflect and Respond:
    Is there someone in your life against whom you harbor unforgiveness? Take a step toward extending forgiveness. Maybe your first step is to pray; maybe it's a letter, or maybe it's a phone call.

    Prayerfully ask God what your next step is. Ask Him to equip you with everything you need to forgive. He will be faithful!

    Power Verses:
    Colossians 3:13, "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." (NIV 1984)

    Ephesians 4:26-27, "'In your anger do not sin': Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Hebrews, Wendy Blight, Bitterness

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