To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
to the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
Every time we need to talk about the attributes of God we must be very careful not to try to define things from a strictly human point of view. Clearly it is very difficult for us to take a different approach as we are not God. However, every time we make a statement regarding his nature we have to stretch our thoughts in such a way that our analytical capabilities are able to grasp a better understanding of our heavenly Father. It’s like when dealing with a very young child. If an adult tries to communicate with the child using adult language, much as the adult tries to explain some issues to the boy, the little one will never fully understand what the adult wants to convey. In this particular case that we are discussing today we are the children and God is the adult. Warning! Any attempt to describe God will be incomplete and unsuccessful. Obviously, God is more capable and wiser than any human and he will find a way to break the communication gap. In our case, God describes in His Word situations well known to us so our limited minds can somewhat approach a bit and manage to understand something of the spiritual reality.
For us it is easy to understand that if someone acts with us in a certain way our response may be reciprocal, i.e., there will be correspondence between our response and the observed behavior. If they speak with us, we speak back, if we are ignored, we also ignore them, if we are attacked, the fight back, and so on. God gives us the freedom to set the tone of the conversation we have with him. If we look for him, he looks for us and if we turn away from him, he turns away from us. Again, this is only an imperfect attempt to describe God, but is a useful approach that allows us to have glimpse, however dimly, of his glory. Let us look for God at all times and we will see for sure that he is always close by, or rather, that we are always at his side and we will know that he has never left us alone. To God alone be the glory!
Hear my prayer, LORD;
let my cry for help come to you.
Why is it so hard for us, and so often, to say a prayer as soon as we see signs that something is wrong? We believe that our issues are not important enough to “bother” God with them or we think that we have the ability to work things out on our own and therefore we should not “bother” God with trifles that we can solve ourselves. Either way, when we use these excuses, we are paying heed to the wiles of Satan and not to the wise guidance of God. First, God is deeply interested in every detail of our lives, however trivial it may seem to us. We must remember that we were bought with a price and that the innocent blood of our Lord Jesus that was paid for our redemption is invaluable. So God cares about every one of his children with the same attention or more than what is given to an only child. On the other hand, we recognize that the times we’ve tried to work things out on our own we have ended up making things worse than they were. This does not mean we should use the strategy of the lazy and comfortable guy, who never does anything to ensure that nothing is done wrong. Those who never do anything never do anything right either.
Nor can we think that God is there like a genie willing to grant three wishes whenever we choose to rub a lamp as the one found by the well-known Aladdin from A Thousand and One Nights. Additionally, fear also blocks us our reasoning and makes us forget that we must pray and we must also act. When the Egyptian army was coming dangerously close to the people of God coming out of Egypt, who were trapped against the sea without possibility of escape, Moses cried out to God and God answered: “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.” The key here is that prayer is useful not only to ask God for help in times of need but also to communicate with him under any circumstances in which we find ourselves. Personal action combined with communication with God by faith is the team that achieves the impossible. To God alone be the glory!
Like apples of gold in settings of silver
is a ruling rightly given.
Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold
is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear.
Conflict typically is the product of misunderstandings. Misunderstandings in turn, stem from lack of communication. Lack of communication may be caused by fear of hurting someone’s feelings. Fear of hurting susceptibilities often comes from bad experiences in which we have hurt others when our words were said with neglect. What we need to consider is whether those words that have hurt others were intentional. If the original intention was based on a genuine love, we should not worry about the situation they could have had caused. If the intention was to hurt, then we have an issue of sin that we must acknowledge and bring to our Heavenly Father in prayer so that we are forgiven. If speaking out is necessary, love can not remain silent. Our words of encouragement should always be pronounced with the purpose of building up and not destroying. Even if our intentionally kind words cause harm, we must pronounce them as long as we are sure that they come from a true heart and sincere love.
Now let’s get on the side of the recipient. How have we taken the things someone else has said? Have we received them with humility, knowing that they will help us grow or, on the contrary, have we taken them as an aggression which deserves a forceful response from our side? If our attitude as recipients of the message is not a conflictive, we may greatly benefit from the advice. If instead, we are always on the defensive, whatever we hear will be understood as an attack and the fire of conflict will be kindled. Remember that love “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” Let us, therefore, stay alert so we do not get caught in the traps of the enemy. To God alone be the glory!