Better a small serving of vegetables with love than a fattened calf with hatred.v-vProverbs 15:17
My folks were not “fighters.” For the most part, their arguments were held behind closed doors and out of earshot. Still, Mom was great with the silent treatment, so I always knew when she and Dad had shared a few spats. Life in our home was pretty peaceful.
Apparently that wasn’t normal. My friends would talk about the knock-down-drag-outs their parents would have, and I just couldn’t imagine. I got sick listening to them describe the angry words and hateful attitudes.
My folks were encouragers, even when I was in the wrong. They were great at showing me my flaws by squeezing them between the good things I did and sharing those things with great love.
When God offered Solomon the opportunity to choose a gift, Solomon chose wisdom … both a blessing and a curse. As he ruled, he was able to clearly see both sides of a dispute and know how to solve the issue. But one of his greatest dabs of wisdom was this (paraphrased to the Cindy version) – Squeeze criticism between two pieces of love. Solomon understood love helps the “hard” go down a little easier. He figured out when you offer correction nuzzled between love, it’s received with an open mind.
I’ve had my share of folks who ripped me apart, never taking time to see the good I have done … only focusing on my flaws. So, whenever I teach or work with writers, my family, or friends, I try to remember their good qualities as well. When I offer the ways of improvement nuzzled between bits of praise, they are lifted up.
The next time you’re placed in a position to criticize, remember the words of Solomon. Practice positive assistance and you’ll grow in your own compassion. Those you help will grow in self-confidence and self-esteem. This is the wisdom sent down from God to Solomon. It translates to good in every language.
Eddie Jones and Cindy Sproles are friends and cofounders of ChristianDevotions.us. They cowrite the popular He Said, She Said devotions and host Blog Talk Radio’s Christian Devotions SPEAK UP! along with Scott McCausey. Eddie and Cindy travel and speak at conferences across the country and they are available to speak at your church or conference. Contact them at email@example.com.
Need to change your husband? Change your sheets. Want to change jobs? Change your sheets. Long for a new life? Just change your sheets. God uses our life experiences to shape us. When the friction of frustration chaffs the skin, God offers us respite and rest. For author Cindy Sproles, sleeping on worn-out sheets meant holding on to the past, but new sheets…new sheets marked a fresh start. The slate wiped clean. Crisp. Fresh. New. With each monumental event in her life, she tossed out the old and ushered in the new with a set of fresh new sheets. From the cheapest muslin to the most expensive Egyptian cotton, she saw how God was shaping her into the woman she needed to be. When the road is tough, veer off and step onto a path that is tried and true. One already walked, already blazed, and already prepared just for you. New Sheets – Thirty Days to Refine You into the Woman You Can Be, is a series of thirty transparent devotions and inspirational thoughts that welcome you, wrap you tight, and snuggle you in encouragement. The next time you long for a change…go for new sheets.