In the world but not of it

January 6, 2010

Taking matters into our own hands…

Filed under: Uncategorized — In the world but not of it @ 5:00 am

I said to myself, “I will watch what I do and not sin in what I say. I will hold my tongue when the ungodly are around me.” But as I stood there in silence— not even speaking of good things— the turmoil within me grew worse. The more I thought about it, the hotter I got, igniting a fire of words: “LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.” Psalms 39:1-5

When I first read these five verses in Psalm 39 my mind filled with many different ways that these verses apply to our lives. One such example that comes to mind is the use of email. You might be thinking, “how does email related to this Psalm?”

This passage speaks to how we often take matters into our own hands and email is a subtle example of how this happens.

Email, although intended to be a convenient form of communication, is often very impersonal. When we receive an email we can misinterpret its content. The way people word things or the phrases they use often offend and confuse us since we really cannot see the meaning behind the words; body language, facial expressions and so on.

In fact, I’m sure you’ve noticed that people have gotten into the habit of using emoticons such as J L ><///>…to ensure their “feelings and emotions” are communicated.

There is a point to this email example. Many times when we receive an email we can read something into it that is not really there. We pick out a word or a phrase and make assumptions about its use and meaning. We may even send back a reply that is defensive or communicates a negative reaction.

Later we come to find out that the person never intended the email as we were reading it. This has happened enough times that you would think we’ve learned the lesson. Now when I get these types of emails, the ones that stir me inside, I pray. I ask God for wisdom in responding but also in reading it correctly. I’ve learned that taking matters into my own hands only leads to undue stress and often to a poor witness.

Isn’t that the way with taking matters into our own hands? It is not just email; there are many more serious and frequent situations where this applies. Just the sheer thought of reacting and the feelings and emotions we experience along with it should be indicators and warnings to stop and pray.

Our reactions are nothing more than a manifestation of pride in our life. The need to defend ourselves is nothing more than the need to exert our rights, or at least the ones we think we have.

I think the Psalmist learned these lessons. He examined his life and saw just how passing it is before the Lord.

He realized his inability to really affect anything and that allowing the Lord to be preeminent is always the best choice.

“How often we commit our burdens to the Lord and then fail to trust Him by taking matters into our own hands. Then, when we have messed things up, we pray, “Oh, Lord, help me, I’m in trouble.” The choice is yours. Do you want to trust your life in God’s “pocket” or keep it in your own?” Billy Graham

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