Posted by: S. L. Doss | June 30, 2014

Principles to Live By #5

MAKE THINGS RIGHT TODAY.

It’s been awhile since I’ve last addressed these principles. I’m sure you know how it is: holidays get very busy, work-loads change, and life just happens. Not only have I been away from this blog, though, I’ve also been challenged to keep applying these principles to my life during the last couple of months.

It’s interesting that the principle I return to is this one. How appropriate that I need to make things right to you, for slacking and leaving you hanging on this journey while I took a short detour.

All kidding aside, though; this is a major principle, and for some, maybe even most, an extremely difficult one.

What does it mean, though, to make things right today?

Before we begin, let’s look at ways we make things wrong:

Holding grudges

How many times has someone hurt us, and we hold the bitterness and anger inside? Every time we see that person, or even think their name, the anger boils to the point that we almost wish harm would come upon them. We even talk bad about them, and judge everything they do against our grudge.

Passing judgment based on a misunderstanding

Sometimes we see a situation, or more likely part of a situation, and immediately make a judgment against someone because of it. We don’t know the whole story, so we jump to conclusions that end up being wrong.

Lashing out in anger

It happens. We are stressed, we’ve had a bad day. We come home, wanting to kick back and relax, and the kids are clamoring for our attention. We just can’t handle one more demand upon our time or mind, so we lash out and yell. Or we are looking for a particular shirt in the pile of laundry which needs to be folded, are under the gun for time, and start throwing clothes around the room in a temper tantrum.

Fail to fulfill our word

We promise our child that we will go to the park after lunch, but then other “things” arise, and we either forget, or promise to go another day. Or, we tell a coworker we will have a project done by a certain time, but then the phone rings off the hook, and we don’t, putting them behind on their work. We commit to praying and reading the Bible every day, but the next few days we oversleep and don’t get a chance to, and by bed time we are so tired, we don’t care.

There are many more examples of ways things go wrong, but now, let’s look at making things right.

The only person hurt by not making things right is you. Oh, yes, the failed commitments or broken promises will hurt the other person for a time, but eventually they will just accept those as normal, and not let themselves be hurt anymore. But you will still suffer the pain of the broken relationship with your child, or the strained interaction with your coworker, or the isolation from the friends you passed judgment on, or the separation from and lack of faith in God.

The longer you go, the deeper the chasm and the harder it is to make it right.

Grant forgiveness

Many people think that forgiving someone means that you condone and accept their hurtful actions, and that you are giving them free reign to continue. But that is not the case. Forgiving someone is actually cutting their power and ability to hurt you. You are not giving them power over your emotions, not letting the situation rule your life. You are freeing yourself to be who you need to be regardless of them.

Get the facts, Jack

It is better to hold back judgment until you’ve gotten the full story in a situation. So, be slow to jump to conclusions, and quick to ask questions. Reach out to the parties involved and seek understanding in a loving, patient matter. Or, stay out of it and let them work it out themselves, making yourself available if they need a shoulder.

Saying sorry and repenting

How many times as children did we hear our parents order us to apologize to another? It didn’t matter if we felt sorry or not, we had to say it anyway. But as adults, we sometimes find it difficult to apologize, and the longer we wait, the harder it is. But we must apologize when we lose our temper, or hurt others, in order to make it right. And we must go the extra step, and repent of our actions, which means turn away from and try to change it.

Keep your word

Start out small. Make sure you only make promises you can keep. Keep a list or calendar, so you don’t miss important activities and end up disappointing others. Seek help if some other commitment is going to prevent keeping a promise. Be transparent and explain to the other person what’s going on, so they understand. This is probably the hardest, because we don’t want to seem weak in others’ eyes, especially our family. But that’s how you build trust and strong relationships. With God, don’t try to force your Bible reading or prayer into a rigid schedule and get discouraged if you mess that up. Find another time in the day to make up to God. Be honest to Him, also, because He knows everything, anyway.

Don’t let pride or embarrassment rule; be happy and whole and make things right today.

“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” – Matthew 5:23-24

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