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June 17, 2008

The Right Timing for Talking

We all know that speaking too quickly isn't the best idea. "Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him," says Proverbs 29:20. A quick reply is usually a thoughtless one, and often the words we speak are later regretted.

But what about taking a lot of time before replying?

There is such a thing as ?rehearsal' for a conversation - I frequently catch my husband in the act. We'll be tidying the kitchen or driving in the car, and I'll notice his lips moving as if he were speaking - only he's silent. "Who are you pretending to talk to?" I'll ask him, and he'll cough up the imagined conversation partner and topic.

I do this too, minus the moving lips. For me it goes like this:

I feel hurt by someone and mull and pray over the issue, trying to figure out exactly what's bothering me. When I reach some clarity and have a handle on my feelings, I figure out how I would explain my point of view if I were talking to the person. What supporting facts and examples would I present? I make my case as persuasively as I can. Finally I imagine myself talking to him or her, laying it all out. I anticipate the person's possible excuses or resistance, and then I counter the assertions with my own rebuttals.

Then I do it again. And again. And again. In a few days, I may explain my feelings to the person in my head a dozen times - typically in correlation with how upset I am about the issue.

The process contains some wisdom and some foolishness. It's wise to know my own inner thoughts and emotions, and to press into an issue to determine what's driving my emotional response. It's wise to pray about the matter and allow God to bring out insights and truth. And it's wise to bring the issue to the person with whom we have conflict (Matthew 18:15), when and as the Lord provides the right opportunity.

But it's foolish, after God has shed light on the issue, to dwell on it and to turn it over and over in my mind. Rehearsing the conversation in my head makes me overly indignant and inflames my anger, resentment, and self-pity. It generates an exaggerated picture of myself as a victim. I find I love the person less and less with each rehearsal. By the time I actually approach him, I have zero grace and in fact am often seething.

In our technology-laden world, though, where cell, email, and text dialogue is omnipresent and face-to-face conversations are increasingly rare, there's often an unavoidable time lapse between reflecting on a matter and discussing it. Our bosses might be traveling; our mothers-in-law may have left town; our husbands might be mentally absorbed by work till the weekend. Wisdom may require us to wait, which is the rub, since waiting is where the sin can enter - if it's accompanied by continual hitting of the mental repeat button.

I am responsible for my own thought life. Regardless of the other person and wrongs against me, it's up to me to avoid my own sin. This means embracing patience as I await God's timing for the conversation; self-discipline to leave the discussion in God's hands till it happens; and surrender that God will work out the specifics of the conversation - and its results - in his own way.

That last one - surrender - is a real kicker for me. I can "lawyer" with the best of them, and when the topic is myself and injustices against me, well, the words just flow. Suddenly I'm trusting in myself - my arguments, my articulateness, my persuasion. I must make my case; I must turn the other person's point of view; I must change them!

How proud - and how ridiculous. God is the changer of hearts, not me. And God is ultimately my defender. If I've been wronged, he'll see to it that the matter is righted - whether today, next year, or in heaven.

I have to remind myself how important this stuff really is. Our relationships matter - more than most things on earth, in fact - and we can't afford to allow ourselves mental self-indulgences. That's Satan gets a foothold in our mindsets, and how we slowly drive God out of our hearts. So with the psalmist, we must earnestly pray that both the "words of our mouths" and the "meditations of our hearts" be pleasing to God (Psalm 19:14).

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hi there preacher! thought i'd reply to you this way. i am so out of touch with technology and barely know what a 'blog' is - worrying really isn't it.
anyway, found this fab article and not only do i agree with it all, but it is speaking to me now as i have a situation where herbie is getting a rough time from a little boy at school - his mother is one of my closest friends! i spoke to her today and she is a strong defender of her kids and it is tempting for me to reiterate my kids side of the problem, but your words remind me to let God be the defender etc etc - so thanks! i may not look at my email for another month or so, but do keep me in touch with fun stuff to read.
love you

Very, very well written, Susan! An insightful look at the ways we can take sound scriptural advice and bend it to our sinful nature.

I think most women are susceptible to this as we tend to emotionally ruminate... I know I am. I also justify gossip with the same rationale: 'venting' will help me be more Christian in my response later. The problem is the time to have a Christian response is now.

Anyway, thank you for the articulate reminder to prayerfully consider our motivation in all things... including our thought life!


You mention 'ruminate' which is somewhat reminiscent of a cow chewing and rechewing its cud! And how like that bovine creature we are when we refuse to let go and let God. Thank you for the reminder that prayer and reflection do not include lawyering up, no matter how hurt we may be. He is sufficient as our defender.

Dr. Clarence Rucker, Jr

A Lady’s Worth

The worth of a moral lady is advanced of the worth of the opulence of the globe, but the lady and the value of her as a righteous woman has been attenuated by the structured system of human organization of this earth. To attenuate the lady of any nation weakens that nation of its virtue. When the woman of a world standard diminishes “Woe is me,” for the Flower of Ecstasy and Bliss has been scorned on an unclothed humanity (Laconic, Dr. Clarence Rucker, PhD FC CCJP ICCS.)

This is why every woman and the general public must reconsider how we gaze upon the females in our humanity. Just to think of the beauty of this being is more than a pleasure but is an installment in the bosom of our hearts. Men present her as being endowed or exceptional, she will be an identical you in the improvement of this humanity, realm or nation, do not devalue her. Adore her landscape of sexual symbol ness that God gave her without devaluing her. She is virtuous. Let God continue to grace her in this humanity. Surely God will only present her as a daughter of decency. Rubies and gold cannot compare to her. The value of her can flood the earth with beauty. The dust mind of man cannot begin to give the woman her price.

Paradise as Heaven does lie at the top of the Protector’s mind. That is God Himself. This means that you and I should be obliged to lend a hand in the construction of a virtuous life. As humanity, we should recognize that our children who come into this humanity come in as pure. We must consign ourselves to guard the wholesomeness of our children that we have and give birth to. One thing we do know, it is usually the family members who destroys the family. It is destroyed from within.

Paradise and Heaven does lie at the top of the Protector’s mind. That is God Himself. We will in no way have a blissful life until we have Godly characters in our hearts. If we allow God to elevate our consciousness, and fill it with His knowledge, Heaven is our destination. Mold the children and teach our children right, there will be God power in all. And one thing for sure, “Paradise and Heaven begins in the womb of Woman.”

Try the Blog of a Love Writing web. Based entirely of Solomon and the Shulamite maiden in the Song of Solomon (before Solomon's exploits of course)

Guilty as charged. Ruminating over offenses made towards me (specifically, those from my mother in law) is a huge achilles heel for me. Thank you for pointing out that there is a limit past which hitting mental repeat is not healthy - and is in fact sin, and that surrender to God's timing and asking him for the words and moving on in (relative) peace is what's needed. Thank you for the insight.

(Church and State) or
State of Truth

Let us be reminded that Church and State should be redefined spiritually: Church is you and I, a cathedral for Christ. State means our status in Christ. If we do not stand for these two words, “Church and State,” surely it is said, “If you do not stand for something, you will fall for anything.”

What do you think?

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