2 Timothy 2:23-25a
23 Have nothing to do with stupid and senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant[c] must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, patient, 25 correcting opponents with gentleness.
18 Those who are hot-tempered stir up strife,
but those who are slow to anger calm contention.
1 John 3:18
18 Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.
Kevin and I share an office in our home and because we are dedicated, hard-working, never-slacking people (insert laughter here)….there is a television in our office! Yesterday we were watching home improvement shows as we both worked away at cleaning the office. For those of you who watch those shows, you will know that quite a few of them involve married couples working together.
As we watched a particular show yesterday the married couple were bickering about things; things that were important to them, but for those of us watching, seemed silly. As observers we could see when one was perhaps over-reacting, or when the other said something they really probably regretted saying. We witnessed times of good problem solving and other times when we’re pretty sure the production crew stopped that camera just in time. There was nothing hostile or disrespectful, just the reality of what happens when you work closely with people you love.
The whole time Kevin and I watched we kept looking at one another and laughing….because we could see ourselves in some of those interactions. We recognized how easy it is to find one’s self in the midst of conflict, even with those you love. And the ways in which the couples found their ways back to one another were delightful to see. Simple and yet, so real.
Friends, this has been a long journey that we have been on as many have been housebound for a long time. I can imagine that in many of our homes there have been difficult times – when we have not been at our best or when the stress of the situation has gotten the better of us. Whether it be with partners, children, parents, those who serve and support us, friends, neighbours – sometimes our stress changes how we might otherwise treat one another. It’s natural.
It’s also a choice in how we respond when things are difficult. We can remain angry and escalate the situation. Or we can be intentional and love one another in truth and action (1 John 3:18). While there may not be cameras recording everything we say and do, how we treat one another will have a lasting impact and will shape how we endure this time in our world.
We all know the things that work best for us. We could all add to the list below (send me ideas if you have them and I will pass them on). I share some ideas, that while not exhaustive, may remind all of us of ways to love one another with intention.
*Laugh often – with one another as much as you can.
*Apologize, and mean it.
*Tell people you love them, and if you can, tell them WHY you love them.
*Do kind things for one another. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, but something you know the other will appreciate.
*Say “thank you” throughout the day – for the big things and especially for all of those little things that you notice.
*Have fun together.
*Pray with and for one another – especially if you are angry. Praying for someone you are angry with really changes you (not them, you!).
God, each day is a new day and each day we have a choice in how we live it. As we interact with one another, as we live through challenging times, as we seek ways to remain connected, help us to respond with love. When we do not have the strength to do it on our own, fill us with your presence and breath your peace into us, we pray. Amen.
To Listen and reflect on God, who is slow to anger.