Do not take revenge, my friends. (Romans 12:19)
There are times when doing nothing demands much greater strength than taking action. Maintaining composure is often the best evidence of power. Even to the vilest and deadliest of charges, Jesus responded with deep, unbroken silence. His silence was so profound, it caused His accusers and spectators to wonder in awe. To the greatest insults, the most violent treatment, and to mockery that would bring righteous indignation to the feeblest of hearts, He responded with voiceless, confident calmness. Those who are unjustly accused, and mistreated without cause, know the tremendous strength that is necessary to keep silent and to leave revenge to God.
Men may misjudge your aim,
Think they have cause to blame,
Say, you are wrong;
Keep on your quiet way,
Christ is the Judge, not they,
Fear not, be strong.
The apostle Paul said, "none of these things move me: (Acts 20:24) He did not say, "None of these things hurt me." It is one thing to be hurt, and quite another to be moved. Paul had a very tender heart, for we do not read of any other apostle who cried as he did. It takes a strong man to cry. The apostle Paul had determined not to move from what he believed was right.
When I read this devotion, I immediately thought of my tongue with my own family. Do I respond with voiceless, confident calmness? The "confident calmness" is what really stood out to me. Too often I get exasperated and impatient, and even if I am not raising my voice, it shows all over in my body language. My eyebrows alone can send a strong message loud and clear--don't mess with mama!
I don't want to be known as the mom with expressions that cause fear. I want to be calm, confident and gentle.
I admit, I sometimes take it personally when my kids don't obey. When the family leaves stuff laying around and I get in the "poor me, no one knows how hard I work, everyone just dumps their stuff and expects me to get it.." blah, blah blah. Yes, these things do hurt. It sucks to feel unappreciated or that the lessons I've taught in responsibility for YEARS sometimes go unheard and unpracticed. I've realized that when I feel wronged, I take revenge with my words. Words of complaint. Words of self pity. Blech.
But above, the apostle Paul says. "none of these things move me." He did not say "none of these things hurt me." What a great reminder that even though I may hurt, I can still determine not to be moved from what I know is right.
What do I know is right?
A gentle answer turns away wrath. (Proverbs 13:1)