Archive for September 12th, 2007

*Burp* Excuse Me

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

Today’s scripture: II Samuel 19:16-23 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Julie Benson):

The other day while my partner was out working in the yard, I stepped out to offer some iced tea and to marvel over his progress. Conversation was pleasant until he mentioned that he could really benefit from the purchase of some lawn equipment that would assist with his project. Without even missing a beat, I growled back, “Well, we’ll be sure to put that on the list if we can ever catch up on our bills.”

My words just came blurting out and I immediately felt shame about my attitude and tone of voice. Instead of seeking reconciliation, I went slinking back into the house, guilt in-tow. I knew in my mind that finances always tend to be a sensitive subject, especially when living from paycheck to paycheck. I also knew that money was a little tighter due to other obligations that had come up. I was quite aware that my reaction was not a personal attack, but rather an expression about the financial stress I had already internalized.

I can count many times when I have spoken without censoring myself, reacted thoughtlessly, or just acted foolishly. I could certainly rationalize my behavior, but only rarely might it actually have been justified.

When these “burps” happen, I remember the example found in today’s scripture. For confessing that he spoke out against the king, Shimei could have sacrificed his honor, his position, or even his own life. But as a man after God’s own heart, King David excused Shimei.

I also remember my own first-hand experiences with a few of my Christian friends. They have been a witness to me, proving that offering an apology is no sign of weakness! It takes true character, strength, and humility, to live with such integrity.

Only a little time passed before I was back out on the front stoop asking my partner to excuse me for my rash behavior. After all, this burp was not the lasting impression that I wanted to make!

Two parties were affected by my behavior: Ego (me) and Bystander (my partner). What worked was this: Ego stepped up and owned wrongful behavior, expressed how such response was born, and sought genuine forgiveness. Bystander refused to react to my initial sarcastic attitude, engaged in active listening, and excused the Ego without hesitance or a grudge.

Next time you “burp”, remember the story of Shimei and excuse your Ego.

Thought for the day: Where is your Ego standing in the way?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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