I saw a scary reflection of myself the other day. In the midst of a crowded room, in the heat of an intense discussion, my temporary adversary lost any resemble of emotional control. The scene was, for almost five minutes, very ugly. Personal arrows flew directly towards my heart. Bizarre accusations flew in all directions, aimed towards any destination that might be a target. The intensity of the emotional waterfall was overwhelming to everyone in the room.
I found myself looking in a mirror. The audience was different yet approximately the same size. The passion and belief that underlies the venom is genuine and heart spoken. The inability to appropriately deal with the situation was clear to everyone at the table but the speaker. This could have been me on any one of several occasions in my journey that continues. The echoes were and are scary. The reflection was and is dark. There was no reason to celebrate; the only response I could muster was a sad and resigned expression of compassion. There but for a moment of calmness and reflection was my behavior parroted in front of me for all to see.
In years gone by I would have responded; the fight, anger, and frustration were all too familiar! Yet I knew that my response needed to reflect that values that I hold dear. It was as if I needed to confront the anger with peace, frustration with patience, and wild accusations with uncompromising execution of my commitments.
It wasn’t always this way. I have often toyed with my enemy and taken the bait in response. It doesn’t make any sense; even God wonders out loud about this type of decision. “But why do you indulge that Balaam crowd?” (Revelation 2.13)
Stand up for what is right. Hold up values of justice, honor, and accountability. Learn from mistakes and take the higher path. In one time and place the Spirit gave me a fresh start. Now that I have experienced this path I never want to see the other! Echoes don’t need repeating, do they?