Wednesday, January 24, 2007
I don’t know what it is with me. I don’t really consider myself a fighter and yet, I suspect I am. I don’t back down easily. I don’t take confrontation quietly. If I feel I’m being unjustly criticized, I want to discuss the matter and not just take the opinion of the criticizer as the final word.
So maybe I am a fighter.
This works for me in lots of ways. In my job I can’t be a panty-waste or I’d be dead meat by now. I deal with some tough hombres. Drug addicts, criminals, police holds and those so psychotic they’re dangerous. And they have an uncanny ability to pick out the weakest in the pack. I try to make sure that person is not me.
I’m also called to be a teacher in the church and you can’t do that if you are constantly knocked down by disagreement or challenge. I have to know what I believe and be ready to stand behind my words. I have to be convinced of the faith I preach or I’m not worth the hot air I’m expelling.
I’m a mom raising two teenagers in 2007. Need I say more?
I’m a Christian in a secular world. I’m a woman in a position of authority.
The fights are there for the asking.
Yeah, I’m a fighter.
The trouble is balancing the fight in me that God uses and the fight in me that’s all me.
I was criticized the other day and I didn’t like it. It was a little complicated because the person’s facts were correct but I seriously disagreed with their interpretation of the facts. Furthermore, as I tried to speak for myself in the discussion it was clear that my words were falling on deaf ears. This really made me want to fight.
Oh, and did I mention that the constructive criticism I was receiving was based on a third party’s report? Oh yeah.
I didn’t launch a loud rebuttal. I nodded my head and quietly reiterated my defense and then I ended the conversation. I was mad but not wanting to engage in a battle.
I did my share of venting afterward. I have a Mr. and a few close friends who I can trust with my wounded pride and offended heart.
Then today I got an e mail that inadvertently revealed who the original criticizer was. And it gave me some ammunition to use against them. Beautiful. Grin. I was ready to lay that person flat with a few taps of my keyboard.
But no. Remember that issue about the fight in me that God uses? This wasn’t one of them. This was a complicated matter. The real deal is this; the third party went behind my back and criticized me. The second party brought the criticism to me in an honest way but not in the way that I felt honored my position. And that leaves me as the party of the first part, right? Wrong.
If I’m to push toward the higher calling I claim to want, I have to be the party of no part. My fights are only kingdom fights, not battles of will or ego.
The aggravating truth of it is that the criticism and the method were bad. I was offended. The people involved didn’t handle it right. But the matter at hand, while not so exaggerated as presented, was a matter that I should look at seriously.
I might even surmise that God sent me a message via imperfect messengers.
I could have jumped into the battle. And the fight would’ve distracted me from a worthwhile message.
So I huffed and I puffed and I licked my wounds. But I didn’t fight even when I got the perfect opportunity to do a little reconnaissance.
Maybe this soldier is finally learning to grow up and get usable in battle.
And by the way, perfect messages delivered by imperfect messengers? That’s pretty much my whole ministry.
Sometimes I just need a reminder that in the getting of grace is the requirement to give it too.
2 Peter 3:18
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.