Many of us embrace our first perception of others’ words to us and react to our emotions that rise in that moment as if they thoroughly encapsulate the intent and essence of the other individual. In my life, cooperating with that often fuels an unnecessary and unconscious escalation of tension and misunderstanding, not to mention missing any benefit from the interaction.

But the Holy Spirit is teaching me a different way.

Beyond listening, he is reining in my pace and my self-centeredness, revealing and displacing my idol of efficiency, and showing me how to guard my heart even from my own assumptions. It’s just too easy – and gratifying to my flesh – to paint others’ words with my own shame, guilt, and unmet need, leading to inexplicable behavior on my part and wounding of the person I’m responding to. Assumptions are powerful, aggressive sirens concealing the sharp rocks of hurt like sweet fog, and the world and my flesh encourage me to just grab that initial interpretation without pausing to ask God. Waiting for truth and God’s perspective and insight to coalesce from the expression of another person just as disoriented as I; recognizing wisdom and godliness and relationship require time; letting love reign over impatience and fear; that is the way of Christ.

Love God

The very best thing you can do for those you care about is to love God and pursue him – before you pursue them.

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