And then you have to deal with the carnage that is left. Hurt feelings. Broken Trust. Damaged relationships. It all lies scattered at your feet. Even if you had been right, the way you dealt with it was wrong.
As I’ve been tempted to “let ‘em have it”, over the last several months a whisper of a new idea has been ringing in my heart: “Bend, don’t snap.”
The picture in my mind is of a tree branch bearing a heavy load. It has two options:
1. The branch can snap and the load falls and everything is a broken mess – sound familiar? This is what happens when I feel overwhelmed and then one more thing happens and I release my frustration in words --resulting in a big, nasty, broken mess.
2. The branch can bend under the load. I feel like what the Holy Spirit has been whispering to my heart is that God will enable me to bear the load, even though I might feel like it is too much… The truth is He is my source of strength and that I have a choice.
I can decide to bend and not snap.
I recently became reacquainted with this verse and I think it paints the same picture:
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
2 Timothy 2:24 (NIV)
· Not be quarrelsome – not snap
· Be kind – bend
· Able to teach – bend
· Not resentful – not snap
Imagine how this could help us in our parenting, our marriages, our friendships – even our interactions with strangers!
God calls His followers to be rich in lovingkindness and longsuffering… because that is what He is like. This is how He described Himself to Moses as He passed before him:
“…The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness…”
Exodus 34:6 (NIV)
So today my prayer is, “Lord, help me, when I am tempted to lash out at someone to pause, turn to you instead, and ask for the strength to bear the load, the strength to bend, not snap.”