|Words from Will
In yesterday's sermon, I said, "There are times when we have to make a choice: am I going to dig in on what's right or am I going to prioritize being kind?" Then I quoted Paul who taught us to "speak the truth in love." And, then, during the 9 AM service, I prayed, "Teach us to value kindness even more than we do correctness, so that when it's time to correct we'll do so with kind and loving hearts." Can all of this coincide? I think they must.
It doesn't matter whether the truck in your spouse's story was blue or red. It's simply better in that instance to be kind and let her tell her story than to be correct and get the truck color right. Easy enough.
But there are times when it's not so easy. On more significant matters (and we should ask for discernment about what are more significant matters; not everything that proves I am right is significant) the truth does need to be said. And, we all have experienced, that the truth can hurt. Thus, the prayer I prayed. When we do have to correct, if our starting place is kindness and love, then our way of correcting will be gentler, wiser; it will still be truth and that may still hurt, but it won't about you being right, it will be about loving that person or community enough to gently guide toward a better way.
These sermons I preach are always something I need to hear first. Receiving this sermon has prodded me to consider my reflexive remarks to my children. Never have I needed a reminder about being kind before being right than on a weekend of moving into a new home. Every time something moves, I envision a deep scar in those newly refinished floors. How, then, will I correct my children about protecting the floors, for example, without becoming unkind (or whatever tomorrow's issue becomes)? It's a challenge, but it's worth the effort. Those floors will be marked along the way; so will my children. The way I approach them, whether from the love I have for them or the protectiveness I have for the house or, hopefully, the combination, will be a part of how they see me. Today, at least, I'm going to try and correct in a Christ-like manner - not just them, not just others, but even me.
By the Spirit's loving correction, we'll get a little better today. And then we'll see what tomorrow brings...