You may remember my dear friend Jill from when she shared the beautiful story of adopting her son a few weeks back. Well, Jill is back, and I am thrilled to announce that Jill will be writing a brand new series at Letters From Lala, titled Lessons Learned.
Lessons Learned will offer practical advice from a biblical perspective. Without further ado, take it away, Jill!
My son, who is 18 months old, had to be picked up from daycare for biting another child. He first bit one child on the playground and then was put in time out for doing so. At daycare, this “time out” spot is in his crib and apparently during his time out, he bit another child! My husband and I could not figure out how that happened. Our son’s crib is in the corner of the room and there is only one other crib adjacent to it. The child that would normally be in that crib was on vacation so he wasn’t there. That meant another child must have walked up to our son’s crib while he was in time out. And our son was in a bearish mood and did not want to be bothered, so he bit this other child!
My husband’s response to all of this was that the other child had it coming. And my response was that our son needed to be responsible for his own actions, regardless of the actions of others. A discussion ensued and my husband agreed that we should all be responsible for our own actions, but that if you poke a bear, you should expect that bear to retaliate.
I had to admit that he had a point. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized how clearly it lined up with scripture. Scripture that I must admit had not stood out to me before.
Proverbs 17:14 says
Starting a quarrel is like opening a floodgate, so stop before a dispute breaks out.”
Interestingly enough, earlier in Proverbs 17, verse 10 says
It is safer to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than to confront a fool caught in foolishness.”
And Proverbs 18:6 says,
Fools’ words get them into constant quarrels; they are asking for a beating.”
Finally, Proverbs 19:13 states,
A foolish child is a calamity to a father; a quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping.”
I don’t know about you, but I hate it when something is constantly dripping and there is no way to fix it. It’s Chinese Water Torture, really! The other morning I woke up and somehow that night, someone (probably me!) had left the faucet in the kitchen on ever so slightly. I could hear the dripping as soon as I stepped out of our bedroom, and immediately had to fix it. Luckily it was an easy fix and I could have my cup of coffee and my quiet time in peace.
But that peace was not without vivid images of bears and dripping spigots. And I could not help but wonder how often I had “poked” my bearish husband and, albeit unintentionally, been as annoying as Chinese Water Torture.
Sure, I felt like I was in the right at the time. I was tired, stressed, hungry, fill in the blank, and I thought something should have been done that wasn’t and therefore I was speaking my mind. But what I was really doing was poking a bear. And that bear retaliated and I was left in the floor trying to mop up the mess from the spigot that was no longer dripping because it had been ripped out of the sink! What’s worse – whatever I thought needed to be done still was not completed and I was in worse shape than before.
Ouch… I hate it when my husband is right, especially when scripture reiterates it like that. So, how do I keep from poking a bear? Love.
Proverbs 10:12 says
Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says,
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
Ahhh…. And there it is. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Now I know I cannot, in my own strength, have this kind of love. But, through God, I can. So I pray that I will and that this love will keep me from poking any and all bears. It’s never worth it anyway.
Thanks so much for sharing, Jill! Stay tuned for more editions of Lessons Learned!