Monday, May 21, 2018

Thinking through actions, yet allowing yourself and others grace

How do I not overthink every little action or word and resent myself for what I feel like I do wrong?

 There are two questions in this one question. First, it is a wonderful thing to take seriously how your actions and words effect others (Proverbs 13:3-5).  While the book of Proverbs makes it clear that our words truly matter (Proverbs 12:25; 25:11), it's also important to know that words come from an overflow of what's already in our heart (Luke 6:45).  I've heard it said before that, if you want to see what's inside of a person, just bump them and see what comes out.  Ouch!  Personally, it sometimes depends on the day or the time of day.  I may respond with patience and kindness, I may respond with a dirty look but a gentle word, or I may respond with a word or action that is out of character for me.  So, a key to not overthinking is to think about it ahead of time regarding how you are building up your heart through right instructions (Bible), right habits (good conversations with good friends),  and receiving the right influences (knowing the right amount of TV, movies, music, social media, etc.).  As a result, you're initial response somebody has already been thought through because you have a good attitude about that person and you have a healthy outlook on life.

The second part of the question has to do with resenting yourself for saying or doing the wrong thing.   Assuming that you are working hard to have the right heart and say the right things and to maintain the right attitude about people, you are doing good in always pursuing right words rather than just saying nothing (of course, Thumper gives good advice when he quotes his momma, "if you can't say something good, don't say anything at all.").  Let's imagine that you DID say the wrong thing.  First of all, you are not alone, yet, you can deal with your mistakes better than most people in the world by actually addressing them and not ignoring them.  You can ask that person for a redo.  In other words, admit that you didn't say the right thing, ask for forgiveness, and say what you know you should've said.  If you need help, ask your parent or pastor for help in what to say and how to say it.  Second, know that your identity is not wrapped up in your regrets.  You are a creation of God and nothing will change His view of you.  When we worry about what other people think or are constantly calling ourselves name ("Paul, you idiot!" has been mumbled way too many times), we take away the joy of being a uniquely gifted individual that needs to say words of life.

I hope this helps a bit.

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Pastor Paul Klassen