I know I should rejoice and be glad in the Lord each day, but when I learn that my desire to encourage someone has done just the opposite…ouch. This learning process was particularly difficult because it was four months between my blunder – and when Libby (not real name) wrote to me about how I had hurt her. Four months is a long time to carry pain….particularly when it is undeserved pain. The letter was not vindictive, not bitter. It was written in love by a person who highly respects me, and that I highly respect. Our love flows both ways. I am very thankful that Libby had the courage to write.
The situation: On the Saturday before our chance meeting in church I had learned that Libby had decided to get the necessary formal training to back up her natural gifts and interests, to change jobs and to go for it! That decision, that move takes courage – guts!
On Sunday morning, about ten minutes before the morning worship service is to begin, Libby and I saw each other.
In my joy of seeing Libby and the excitement I felt for having learned of a total vocational change, I did not quietly listen. Rather, I began a telling her how proud I was of her – and asking questions. As time was limited, I shared thoughts, and I asked questions too quickly, and I did not listen to responses adequately- or really give her a chance to talk about my questions…My mind was going very fast…and my mouth was going even faster!! . I gave encouragement for things not even in her plan. The result? A person without time to respond… Trapped. And I walked away pleased with our few minutes together!!!!! Incredible insensitivity!
“… take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry” James 1:19
I did not live out the verse, a verse I know. Ouch!!!!!
It looks to me like/it feels to me Libby perfectly lived out Matthew 18:15-17 “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over…” Not only did Libby not get angry, she gathered the courage to write me an excellent letter – a letter that obviously hit its mark!
After receiving the letter I went to Libby to apologize – and we do not live in the same town! My respect and appreciation for Libby is even greater, and our friendship grows. And her new vocational plans! Formal training needed to back up considerable personal experience is in place. A joyful, successful hobby has become an new vocation! Easy….irrelevant question!
All of the above happened several months ago….and I wrote the above several months ago – and because of a friend with gutz, I have had impressed upon me…
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry” James 1:19
“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over…” Matthew 18:15-17
If the shoe fits…wear it! I will wear this pair for a long time!