The frustration was building within. His face was morphing into a darker and darker shade of red. The body language quickly changed from being relaxed to chiseled features shaped by clinched muscles out of control. As things went downhill, I could see frustration changing into a range of ugly emotions. Even so, paraphrasing what came next still caught me by surprise.
“Make orphans of his children, dress his wife in widow’s weeds.” (Psalm 109.9)
I thought I understood his anger and frustration. I empathize with his need for retribution and aggressive action. Fairness and justice said he should not be experiencing what he was experiencing. I would love to say that none of it was real but it was all too real, especially in his life.
The only thing I could think of was, “take a deep breath.”
“I do not think that was what I was looking for. Can you do me a favor and take a long, slow, and very deep breath.”
As I watched him breath in slowly I could see a calmness trying to fight it way into his being. I was not sure it could penetrate the barrier he erected. As we began to talk about the possible ways he could respond, there were several points of agreement.
We can only control our actions. As difficult as the situation often is, the best we can do is to be intentional and precise in our actions. Each movement will speak volumes. Correspondingly, in the bigger story, we cannot determine or control what another will do.
Evil is never the answer, even to evil. Having said that, there are righteous ways to fight and even eliminate one’s opponent. Embracing evil will always bring harm to one’s self.
In every moment, we have a choice to make – will I try to make the world a better place? If so, what will I do.
There are so many choices in our lives. On this day, I focused on being in a better place. I am not always able to do this, but I want to.