Context Matters

“The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over (overlook) a transgression.”

Proverbs 19:11

I was off work the week of New Year’s this year, and I was looking forward to having a break. I planned to go to the gym, run, and get some work done in my garage. I also wanted to spend time in God’s Word and get ahead on writing some of my devotionals for the website. I was engrossed in wrapping up my devotional when I received a call from my friend who is in prison. We talked for 45 minutes or so when I got another call from another friend whom I do not hear from that often. I could not pick up the call, but he texted me if I was available for brunch. I actually had the whole week off, so we made plans to get together and break some bread. I enjoy speaking with this brother as he always asks me challenging questions, and he is a great listener. We really did not have an agenda, but I knew we would get into some deep conversation.

He had previously sat in on one of our podcasts and was a silent guest on one of our episodes. He wanted to see what it was like because he wanted to do a podcast with his brothers and talk about family things that would only be shared with each other and not for public consumption. I asked him how it was going, and as he was explaining to me some of the details, I thought it was neat how they were able to share some things about their upbringing and experiences. It led to him asking me questions about my childhood and upbringing, and he made me pause on devouring my omelette and give thought to his questions. I am not sure I would do a podcast with my sister to discuss our childhood, as we grew up on different spectrums as we were separated by almost 6 years. She had her time in the limelight, and I did as well.

When I was growing up, I chose to focus on the slights that others did to me in my life. I never focused on my wrongs to others, but was more interested in what I thought they did wrong to me. The older I get, the more I am able to analyze things and put myself in the shoes of my parents as I get to be the age they were when I was growing up. I see the errors in my own ways, and I look less on how I perceived I was treated. My parents were never perfect, but no one can be as we were all born sinners. I have looked back at my upbringing and put into context the upbringing my parents had and how God truly changed their lives. The did not resemble their own upbringings and they did their best to raise my sister and me. The events where I was “offended” by them in the past, I simply choose to not dwell on it as it accounted for less than 1% of the time. When I compare to their upbringing to mine, I realize just how blessed I was to grow up in the home I did.

I shared with my friend that when I looked at things in context, I learned just how blessed I was. I realized God allowed me to grow up in the exact home I needed. He knew I would need a dad who was hard to please and a mom who was stern with me when she had to be, and my biggest cheerleader when life called for it. Were there transgressions in my home? Yes, of course there were, but it occurred on both sides. I know someone who constantly focuses on the transgressions of others and not on their transgressions. They seem to be at odds with other people, including those who are closest to them. They are unwilling to defer their anger and they cannot get over the sins of the past. The “woe is me” is prevalent in their life instead of giving it to God and trying to understand from the other’s perspective. With God’s help, I desire to overlook slights against me and to defer my anger as I am thankful to those who have done that with me, including my parents.

Are you living in the past? Do you seek to understand another or are you quick to attack and demand people make things right with you?Are you gracious with others who sin against you or do you seek retribution and justice? Are you willing to forgive and move on? What does it take to make you angry? May God help us put each matter into context, and may we give others the benefit of the doubt as we never know what another is going through or experiencing. In others’ darkest moments, it gives us opportunity to be a shining light. May we be quick to defer our anger and may we pass over a transgression like our Heavenly Father who uttered the words, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” We have never been wronged like Him, yet He was quick to forgive and not hold it to our account. May we restore relationships that have been shelved, and may we have victory over any ill feelings we have been holding on to for far too long.

Stay in the Fight!

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