Kindness Over Customary

“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” – (Matthew 9:13, NIV)

“You need to go and learn what this Scripture means: ‘I don’t want animal sacrifices; I want you to show kindness to people.’ I did not come to invite good people. I came to invite sinners.” – (Matthew 9:13, ERV)

“Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.” – (Matthew 9:13, MSG)

This passage is Jesus’ response to the Pharisees after they questioned Him about His dining with Matthew, the tax collector and the fellow “sinners” that had been invited. In their pseudo piety, they saw the tax collectors and sinners as those who were beneath them and unworthy of the teacher’s time. Jesus, in His wisdom, pointed out that it is the sick who need medical attention; in the same way, sinners need salvation. The Pharisees were already well versed in scriptures and the laws, yet they saw following them as routine and religion, not as love, grace, mercy and sacrifice. Their priorities were all out of place. Time with Jesus was not meant to be an exclusive club or gathering, but rather He prioritized His time for those who were hungry to know more. We are no different today. Often, we get caught in the trap of thinking that if we do enough, or study enough, or pray enough in the four walls of our sanctuaries, we will have somehow arrived. The reality is that we are all called to do as Jesus did. We are charged with going forth in love. This means actively loving those around us; reaching out to those who need hope and help. It looks different for each of us, but the common threads are love, mercy, grace, goodness and kindness. Though we cannot make a difference for everyone, we can have a positive impact on the people whom we encounter;one person at a time. Sometimes it is as simple as a smile or an encouraging word, whereas other times there may be more action required. God is faithful to meet us and show us how to love each person we encounter with His heart. It is up to us to seek Him and trust Him to lead and guide us in the ways that He has for us to love. May we ever seek the Lord to equip us to go forth and love well, in the same way that Jesus chose to reach out, include, serve, honor and love.

For sinners He came,

To seek and to save;

Jesus led with love,

As we should today.

Love is inclusive,

It seeks to meet needs;

Love chooses reach out,

The hungry it feeds.

Sick and the hurting,

Those who’ve lost their way;

Are those Jesus loved,

And pursued each day.

He willingly left,

The flock for the one;

To lovingly lead,

Those who’d come undone.

For it’s through Jesus,

We each come to find;

A loving Savior,

Who has us in mind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be merciful and kind. Thank You that You first loved us, though we were sinners. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to reach out in love, or think somehow that we are good in our comfortable safety circle. Teach us to reach out beyond our four walls to love all those we meet. Show us how to love the lost and the broken in ways that point their hearts to the truth of Your love and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in love, with all people at all times. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

The Calm to Our Storms

The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!” – (Matthew 8:27, NIV)

The men rubbed their eyes, astonished. “What’s going on here? Wind and sea come to heel at His command!” – (Matthew 8:27, MSG)

The disciples were astonished by this miracle and said to one another, “Who is this Man? Even the wind and waves obey His Word.” – (Matthew 8:27, TPT)

Verse twenty-seven is the disciples’ response after experiencing a harrowing event. A storm had come on them suddenly, in the middle of the lake, and the waves were so wide and wild, that they feared the boat might sink. They went to Jesus, whom they found asleep, and woke Him with their worry and fear. Jesus asked them why they were afraid, then stood and spoke, commanding the wind and waves to be still. In an instant, calm came over the water. Verse twenty-seven is the disciples response to the wonder they had just witnessed. Though they had been listening to Jesus teach, and had watched as He healed, their awe and wonder multiplied as they observed the power present as Jesus calmed a raging storm with His words. The very same Jesus who healed, taught, touched, and silenced storms back then, is available and present for us still. He hears our cries and listens in love as we call on His Name. Sometimes, He silences the storm around us, yet other times, He settles the storm within us. He is our peace and hope that we can cling to, no matter the size of the storm we face. May we ever call on His Name and trust in His presence, for He is our peace, our comfort, our help and our hope forever.

Lord, please remind us,

To call upon You;

No matter the storm,

Your love sees us through.

Sometimes You silence,

The storm that surrounds;

Yet then other times,

Peace within abounds.

Whatever may come,

The thing we must hear;

Is You’ve promised us,

You’ll always be near.

Show us Your goodness,

Lead us by Your grace;

Teach us to seek You,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You still silence the storms. Thank You for the times that You have brought peace to the storm surrounding us, and thank You for the times that You have silenced the storm within us. Forgive us for being surprised by Your power and goodness, and for the times that we doubt You. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times; for You are always good. Show us how to love those around us through the storms, and what to do to pass along Your perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we surrender the storms around us and within us, trusting in Your faithful promised presence. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Hard Hearts Made New

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” – (Luke 23:43, NIV)

Then Jesus said to him, “I promise you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” – (Luke 23:43, ERV)

Jesus responded, “I promise you – this very day you will enter paradise with Me.” – (Luke 23:43, TPT)

The response of Jesus to the criminal beside Him who was repentant, reminds us how great His grace truly is. Though He himself was hanging from the cross in agony, Jesus still heard the call of a repentant soul, and let it be known that the promise for all who turn away from their sinful ways and turn to God, remained true, even as they were living out their last breaths of life. No matter how far from God someone may appear, their salvation could be but a few breaths away. God works in mysterious ways. If He can touch the heart of a hardened criminal as he is having his death sentence carried out, God can do the same for anyone. We celebrate Christ’s arrival at Christmas, but this season ought to remind us why He came. Jesus came to bring forgiveness, peace, hope, love and joy to all who are willing to receive. May we fix our eyes on the greatest gift ever given, and celebrate as we walk in forgiveness, extending peace, love, hope and joy to all those around us.

The promise through Christ,

Was given for all;

So love might be known,

Through us, great and small.

For nothing we do,

That’s done with great love;

Goes without notice,

By the Lord above.

The Lord takes our gifts,

In love, multiplies;

The impact they have,

His grace maximized.

Lord, help us to rise,

With purpose each day;

Let our love spread hope,

Lead us in Your way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your one and only Son to save us. Thank You that You receive us as we call on Your Name and recognize our desperate need for You. Forgive us for frustration and lack of faith when things seem impossible through our own eyes and understanding. Thank You that You are so much greater than we realize. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that grant peace, hope, love and joy to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look at Your birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension in awe and wonder and gratitude. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

But with You there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve You. – Psalm 130:4

Release the Offense

“Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” – (Luke 17:4, NIV)

“Even if they do something wrong to you seven times in one day, but they say they are sorry each time, you should forgive them.” – (Luke 17:4, ERV)

“No matter how many times in one day your brother sins against you and says, ‘I’m sorry; I am changing; forgive me,’ you need to forgive him each and every time.” – (Luke 17:4, TPT)

Jesus set the standard as to how we are meant to interact with our sisters and brothers around us. We are called to forgive every time that someone recognizes their wrongs and apologizes. The reality is that we all fall short and need forgiveness and grace. For me, I know that I have far more grace for my children and spouse than I do for folks out and about. When one of my kids forgets to do what has been asked of them, and then apologizes, it becomes as if it has never happened; yet if someone cuts me off on the road and then waves an apology, it takes a moment to slow down and actually forgive, instead of being annoyed. Our intentional decision to forgive is not meant to be submission to abuse, rather it is for us to release the offense and move on so that we do not carry the weight of unforgiveness.There are enough burdens among us; grudges are far too weighty to hold. May we seek the Lord to grant us the grace to forgive, in the same way that He continually forgives us.

Count not offenses,

But rather, give grace;

Love one another,

Throughout each new day.

When there’s a sorry,

Let go, choose release;

Hold not the offense,

May our grace increase.

Lord, help us to love,

As You choose love us;

Let our response be,

Just like Yours, Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us how to live and love and forgive. Forgive us for not being quick to forgive when we ought to. Show us how to give the very same grace and forgiveness that we have been given by You. Lead us in love for all those around us so that each may know the overwhelming, never ending, power of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in love and forgiveness for all. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. – Colossians 3:13

His Wisdom

Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible is it for us to understand His decisions and His ways! – (Romans 11:33, NLT)

Yes, God’s riches are very great! His wisdom and knowledge have no end! No one can explain what God decides. No one can understand His ways. – (Romans 11:33, ERV)

Who could ever wrap their minds around the riches of God, the depth of His wisdom, and the marvel of His perfect knowledge? Who could ever explain the wonder of His decisions or search out the mysterious way He carries out His plans? – (Romans 11:33, TPT)

 

This is arguably one of the strangest seasons in modern history. Neither our parents, nor grandparents, experienced quite a time such as the one we are living in right now. For many of us, our grandparents lived through the depression, WWII, Vietnam, Polio, and the like, but nothing that ever brought the entire world to a screeching halt, in the same way that this current pandemic has done. Many are left wondering why. Why would this happen? If God is good and just and kind, why allow so many to suffer? This is the space where it is impossible for us to understand the mysterious ways of God. He can bring beauty from something that has caused so much destruction, and good, from something seemingly so horrid. I know not what all of His plans entail, but I do see evidence of the good, all around me. People are intentional to reach out to one another. They are creative and innovative to find ways to help people feel celebrated and loved when they achieve milestones or have birthdays, and there is much philanthropy in the hearts of the community, as so many needs are being met through both individuals and various organizations that have popped up in response to known needs. The “church” is not limited to a building to thrive, and healthy churches are staying connected, holding services online, and reaching out to serve their communities in practical and tangible ways. Though I long for the freedom to travel, especially to go and see my mom, I am grateful that we live in the era we do, where we have access to one another, more than we ever have before. Communication is at the touch of a button, and there are countless methods we can use to stay connected with one another. God is good, and His wisdom supersedes that of humanity. Our plans are not His, nor our ways, His; and trusting Him is what we need most to navigate this season. May we seek the Lord in His wisdom, for He is able to provide all that we need to persevere through the wait.

 

The riches of God, Ongoing Peace

Are beyond compare;

His wisdom, kindness,

And limitless care.

Though we cannot know,

Why all things occur;

From all can come good,

For God’s love is sure.

In seasons of loss,

In love, He provides;

All that is needed,

As we choose abide.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all wisdom and knowledge and provision come from You. Thank You that though we do not understand the reason why things happen as they do, You love us through them. Forgive us for our fears, frustrations and doubts. Teach us to trust You; always. Show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as trust in Your wisdom in every circumstance. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; He does great things beyond our understanding. – Job 37:5

Promised Peace

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – (John 16:33, NIV)

“I have told you these things so that you can have peace in Me. In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” – (John 16:33, ERV)

“And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in Me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in Me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!” – (John 16:33, TPT)

 

Jesus never promised us an easy life; He promised us peace in His presence and the recognition that we can take courage, for He has already overcome every obstacle that we will ever face. Not one of us has any guarantees. We know not the triumphs and tragedies that lie before us, yet in Christ, we know Who will be present with us to see us through. The longer I live, the more I recognize these words to be true. Trouble does come, when we least expect it, yet if we cling to Christ, He will be our peace, our strength, and our hope. Perhaps it is my current age and stage in life, but this past year has been particularly weighty for many that I know. That being said, for each of the heartaches, there have been tremendous blessings, and God’s peace has been present. Each time we experience a struggle, heartache, or tragedy and lean into the Lord, we learn more deeply the truth of this verse. There is peace in Him. He has overcome trouble and sorrows and grants courage and strength and resolve to press on. Even when life seems less than what we are hoping for, God is present, and our future is secure in Him. May we hold fast to the hope we know in Christ, for He is our peace and our strength, no matter what comes our way.

 

Though troubles will come, Ongoing Peace

They’re part of this life;

Jesus brings us peace,

He loves us through strife.

In heartache or loss,

The Lord will be near;

He comforts with peace,

And wipes away tears.

God grants us the strength,

To rise and press on;

Brings blessings our way,

Love is His response.

So, lean into Christ,

The hope that we know;

His grace and His love,

Will lead as we go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we have troubles and trials to face in this life, You are present to be our peace and strength. Thank You that as we call on You and depend on You, You equip us with all that we need to press on. Thank You for the blessings that You pour out upon us. Forgive us for our frustrations when troubles come. You did not promise us an easy life, You promised us Your peace, hope and presence. Thank You that You are forever faithful. Teach us to trust You more, in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your peace, strength, grace and hope where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13

Devoted and Delighted

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourself. – (Romans 12:10, NIV)

Love each other in a way that makes you feel close like brothers and sisters. And give each other more honor than you give yourself. (Romans 12:10, ERV)

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. – (Romans 12:10, NLT)

 

Devoted love is a love that willingly chooses the other, regardless of how the recipient appears before them. To love with devotion is to be committed to caring and seeing the other person through, no matter what comes their way. Throughout my life, I have had such devotion in love modeled for me well, through both my grandmother, and my mom. My gram was a natural encourager and lifter of souls, as she loved with her whole heart and was committed to make sure that we all knew her heart for us, individually. Not only was I the recipient of her devoted love, but I was witness to the power it provided in the lives of those around me. Mom, her only daughter, has followed closely in her footsteps, as my sister and I still marvel at how she, as a single mom, managed to attend every game, concert, banquet, ceremony, etc., work full-time, manage a household, keep our home and yard beautiful, and always welcome our friends into our home with open heart and arms. Even as we have grown, married and had children of our own, mom has managed to be present at nearly all of the significant events in the lives of our children. She has driven hundreds of miles to be sure that each of her grandsons knows how proud she is of them, and she honors each of them and loves them lavishly.  With that as our model, how could my sister and I possibly choose do anything differently? With mom in a time of need, our only choice is to love with all that we are, and to delight in doing all that we can to honor whatever her heart desires. My favorite response to mom these days is, “As you wish.” She giggles every time I answer that way, but I know it delights her heart to know that she is loved as deeply as she loves others.

As for the practical application and fruit of devotion, yesterday was an incredible day for mom before my guys left to drive home! She determined that she would show them how she was doing with her walking in the hallway with her walker, and I had Mark stand and video so that we could send documentation to my sister. One of my guys followed behind us with the wheelchair in case she grew weary, and the other stood back to watch what would transpire. Incredibly, mom shocked us all, herself included, as she walked the ENTIRE length of the hallway! Prior to yesterday, she had only gone halfway unassisted. Happy tears were shared by all as we celebrated this incredible and hope-filled milestone. If she could double her distance in a matter of two days, imagine what will transpire in a matter of a few weeks?! We were beaming ear-to-ear as we sent off my guys to drive home. It had been a wonderful weekend together, and had ended perfectly. The remainder of the day was rather relaxing, as it was spent resting, doing a variety of mom’s PT and OT exercises, and movie watching. Sleep again went well last night, as there were only two wake-ups. We slept in longer than usual this morning, as our early breakfast time was nearly an hour later than we are accustomed. Today, mom has both physical therapy and occupational therapy, so I anticipate a great day ahead.

May we ever seek the Lord to equip us to be devoted to one another in love, and to delight in honoring each other above ourselves.

 

Devoted in love, img_20190630_100257_3922772888685512407775.jpg

Is love’s true design;

To prefer others,

And choose to be kind.

Honor each other,

Choose lift and build up;

Love through the trials,

And never give up.

Set down our own wants,

And see other’s need;

Love with our whole lives,

By God’s grace, proceed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to be devoted to one another in love and to honor others above oneself through the life of Your Son, Jesus. Thank You that You equip us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that we have set aside devotion or honor for our own agenda. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be devoted in love and honor others, as You love and honor us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be devoted in love and help us delight in honoring others above ourselves. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Protect me, for I am devoted to You. Save me, for I serve You and trust You. You are my God. – Psalm 86:2

Remember to Give Thanks

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, NIV)

Give thanks to the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, ERV)

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love and His kindness go on forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, TLB)

 

On mornings like this, I need to above all, remember to give thanks. We always have a choice – to fix our eyes on the goodness of God, or on the difficulty of our circumstances. Sometimes, in the moment, particularly on the fourth wake up of the night, it is easy to forget His goodness, and simply get frustrated with the sleep that I am not gaining. However, with the dawning of a new day, and time in the word, perspective is regained and I am again reminded of His goodness and love. Today is another day that I am blessed to have with my mom. Had things gone differently, I would not. Additionally, mom is continuing to make gains in this whole healing process. Yesterday, as she worked with her new physical therapist, Nick, she actually completed 15-20 of the steps with her walker, unassisted; whereas before, she always needed help bringing her right leg through. Right now, she is able to complete three or four steps without help before her hip flexor becomes fatigued, and she needs a little assistance bringing her leg the rest of the way through. Nick had mom rest a moment, reset, and begin again, so that she would truly know and feel that she was indeed walking all by herself. It was so encouraging to watch!

In the morning yesterday, mom was struggling a bit with frustration, as she was discouraged about how terribly slow the progress is with her right arm. I sent a text to one of her dearest friends in town, and her response was that she was just about to message me to inquire about a visit. God knew she needed the boost. Another positive that I was able to pass on to mom, was that my husband had dreamed about an interaction with mom the night before, and in his dream, they were joking around about something (probably banter about our favorite family game) and she reached up and over with her right arm at him. It had been very vivid and clear, and I shared it with her, receiving it as a glimpse of good that is yet to come. Regardless of our circumstances, God is good, and His kindness goes on forever. May we give Him thanks and trust in Him, rather than on the temporary that is seen.

 

Give thanks to the Lord, 0627190551_hdr2559659277416546072.jpg

In each circumstance;

Our reason to rise,

And strength to advance.

In everything,

The Lord shall be near;

With kindness and grace,

Help us persevere.

Trial and triumph,

He’s present in all;

Trustworthy always,

He’ll not let us fall.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your love and kindness endure forever. Thank You that Your character and faithfulness are not dependent on our circumstances. Forgive us for forgetting how very faithful You are. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rest in Your presence and gain strength from Your goodness and grace. Show us how to love those around us through both trials and triumphs, as goodness and grace are always needed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for who You are and how You love both now and forevermore. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – Psalm 106:1

 

 

Even in This

The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. – (Deuteronomy 31:8, NIV)

The Lord will lead you. He Himself is with you. He will not fail you or leave you. Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid. – (Deuteronomy 31:8, ERV)

And He will be leading you. He’ll be with you, and He’ll never fail you or abandon you. So don’t be afraid. – (Deuteronomy 31:8, VOICE)

 

Last weekend, Mom spent Easter with us. She let me know when she arrived safely home as promised on Tuesday, but I had not been able to reach her since. At first, I thought nothing of it, as she is a busy, social, love of a lady, who easily gets caught up in her wonderful community at home. On Saturday, my nephew, her grandson, had prom. My sister posted great photos, and normally, no matter how busy, Mom would be first to jump in and rave about how fantastic they were. However, we did not see nor hear a single response. By Sunday, both my sister and I were becoming a bit frantic, and I contacted some of her friends who live nearby. The most recent contact any of them had made, was Thursday. My sister contacted the police to make a non-emergent wellness check. To our horror, they found our mom, unresponsive. Thankfully, they had her sitting up and speaking a little before they had paramedics rushing her to the emergency room. What is known, is that she had a stroke. She is currently unable to move her right arm and right leg. Speaking is possible, but slow and difficult. Mom knows the answers to important questions, but after yesterday’s ordeal, was completely exhausted. This verse is what I will cling to, as we don’t know what this week, month or coming year will hold. What we do know, is that God is with us and will not abandon us, just as we will not be leaving Wenatchee while our mom is in the hospital. Fear is a liar, be it a loud one. Please pray with us for miraculous healing and full and complete recovery for our mom. She is more than any description I could write, and the only consistent grandparent that my boys know. To know her is to love her, as she loves with all that she is. As we were leaving the hospital so she could sleep last evening, she was listing food in the fridge that we might enjoy for dinner…

 

The Lord will lead us, img_2019-04-29_06-56-462555965120756472194.jpg

Despite how things look;

When storms come our way,

And our world is shook.

He’ll steady our hearts,

And show us the way;

To trust He is good,

And get through today.

When we’re feeling lost,

God will take our hand;

He’ll show us the way,

To walk out His plan.

And when we’ve no strength,

His is all the more;

Our God lifts us up,

As hope He restores.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Great Physician and that You love our Mom even more than we do. Thank You that You knit her together in her mother’s womb, and You know how ever synapse and connection works best. Thank You that You are a God who heals and restores, strengthens and leads. Father, we are trusting You. Forgive us for allowing fear to creep in. Show us Your strength and power and provision in ways we have never known before. Turn this trial into an incredible testimony, and bring beauty from these ashes as only You can do. Show us how to love Mom and all who are caring for her in the ways that bless and encourage best. May those who do not know You yet, come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, even in this. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases. – Psalm 103:2-3

Lead with Listening

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, NIV)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – (James 1:19, MSG)

 

Listening is an art form that can prevent misunderstanding and bring people closer together. Too often we speak to respond, rather than listen to understand and reply only if necessary. Anger flares and brash words are spoken when we communicate to make our own point, opinion or agenda heard, without taking pause to listen to others around us. I find that the majority of the time, my anger ignites when I jump to conclusions or explain a scenario in my own mind, rather than seeking to listen to whomever did, whatever it was, that incited my frustration to the point of anger. Each time I slow down, take a deep breath, and remind myself to listen with the intent to understand, I discover that there is a reason for the words or actions that transpired. By hearing the heart behind the person, anger or frustration fade, and compassion and kindness begin to rise. May we ever seek the Lord for strength and willingness to listen first, so that our response is a reflection of His heart, rather than a rash reaction that is not necessary to bring resolution.

 

Let us each choose first,

dsc062124653222902877319183.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

To listen in love;

Seek to understand,

With grace from above.

If we’re slow to speak,

There’s less to regret;

Peace has a true chance,

God’s love, our asset.

Allow not anger,

To rise and release;

Instead, choose listen,

Discernment brings peace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be people who seek listen to understand, speak with intention and grace, and to keep anger in check to prevent words or deeds that cannot be taken back. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our ego or agenda to cause us to assume ill intent in anger, rather than listening with intention to understand all that is involved in what has transpired before us. Teach us to listen first, seeking to understand, so that if and when we respond, it may be done with love and grace. Show us how to love well through listening to those who need to be heard. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as You are the God who always hears our heart, regardless of what our words or deeds seem to indicate. Be glorified O God, through our decision to listen first and speak with godly intent, only when we understand, keeping anger in check and love abundant. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. – Proverbs 1:5