Thursday, February 27, 2014

Like Toddlers in the Kitchen

Frequently when I'm cooking the boys play with kitchen utensils. (A whisk or a big plastic spoon, not knives!) One day they were waving them around in the air as only little boys do and Micah lost his balance, fell against the wall, and lightly tapped Kevin with his whisk. I can assure you that it did not hurt but Kevin put up a howl like someone was pulling his toes off! I told him that Micah didn't mean to do it and he needed to be nice; he did not looked convinced. 

Having children teaches me so much. How often do we act just like toddlers? Someone- thoughtlessly, accidentally- says something that hurts our feelings or that we disagree with. Maybe they don't use as much tact and discretion as we would like. But instead of responding graciously we put up a howl just like Kevin. People are thoughtless. Granted there are some that mean to hurt you. But mostly it's accidental, especially among family and friends and church members. 

photo courtesy of stuart miles/

What if we learned to overlook those little things? We don't have to turn them into big things. We don't have to tell our friend what happened or what so-and-so said. We don't have to think about all the things they could have possibly meant by that comment. Often we even find offense where there is none. Maybe they really just meant that they don't let their kids watch a lot of tv. Did they say, "We think parents who let their kids watch a lot of tv are bad, stupid, and abusive." Did they really say those words? They probably don't care how much tv your kids watch. 

What if we learned to respond graciously to the big things? Maybe that person did offend you on purpose. Maybe they criticized. Maybe they gave overbearing advice because they believe you are doing something wrong. Do we have to make a big deal about it? No, we don't. Francie Taylor teaches a concept from Proverbs that she calls POAT: "pass over a transgression." (Proverbs 11:19) We can tell God everything about it: what they said, how it made us feel, what we wish we could have said back. And then we can pray for a forgiving spirit in our heart, grace for our lives, and discretion in our words. We don't have to tell anybody else. We don't have to bite back. We don't have to keep a list in our head of all the people who have hurt us. 

Let's put our feelings back in our hearts instead of on our sleeves. Let's pour out our hearts to God and be silent toward man (Psalm 62:8). We really don't have to behave like toddlers in the kitchen. Good thing God is a longsuffering God or He might get as exasperated with us as I do with my children sometimes. 

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