Thursday, November 29, 2012
It seems that life has set out to teach me humility in the last few months before this year ends. I have been in just about every awkward situation you can think of these past few weeks (I truly might write a book someday) and the overwhelming need to be a peace keeper and to be humble has weighed on me. It's also been a theme in so many areas of my life. At bible study this past Monday, after a week of just such circumstances I read this of the Proverbs 31 woman:
She is a peacekeeper. (Proverbs 3:17) - Wisdom's ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. (Proverbs 12:20)
Ah, peacekeeping. It's never been a strength of mine. I'm passionate. Mouthy. Impatient. Expectant. And frequently, entitled. Basically I'm the opposite of this wise woman of Proverbs. But man am I being forced to work at it now.
And more than having my hand forced I'm finding that I want to grow in this area. Certainly I desire to be wise and if wisdom means peaceful and pleasant paths, well sign me up. But I think the journey to these peaceful paths is the tough part, hm?
So here's my solution...olive branches. Rome wasn't built in a day and wounds aren't healed overnight. Forgiveness is sometimes a process and smoothing over bumps in the road behind you takes time (longer without an apology or any real remorse on the other person's part). But when these awkward opportunities present themselves and you're faced with the chance to choose peace, try an olive branch. It's really the perfect example because they're small. It's the simple but profound gesture of extending undeserved grace for the moment and the first step on a journey to peaceful paths to come.
If, like myself, you find that your pride is tripping you up because you deserve an apology or you're hesitant to give that undeserved grace just remember that there is frequently more strength in choosing peace. It's not a sign of weakness but a show of character. Or as Jennie Allen says, ' Jesus wants our dignity to come from him, not how we are treated. There is strength and intention in humility'.
So here's to olive branches this holiday season. To being the bigger person even when you don't feel like it. To forgiving the un-sorry. To showing love to the undeserving. To coming out smelling like roses in an ugly situation. And a toast to all of us who have had to be on the receiving end of this at some point as well.