“I wouldn’t be so irritable, if I got a little respect around here!” So, another tiff in the Jones household began. Dad blamed mom and mom would counter and fire back.
Isn’t that just like all of us. We think that our problem is someone else. So-and-so made me mad. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Luke 6:45 states, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” What comes out of my mouth was already in my heart.
The heart is one of the most developed themes in the Bible seen in over 950 passages. Pastor, author and conference speaker Paul Tripp uses a water bottle to demonstrate the theme. He holds the water bottle up, shakes it, and asks, “Why did water come out of the bottle?” Then he states that the normal response is, “Because you shook it”. He then changes his intonation and asks, “Why did water come out of the bottle?” He then answers his own question by replying, “Because water was in the bottle.” He concludes by saying that if I am shaken by the action or behavior of others, what comes out was already in my heart to begin with.
It took me years to learn this lesson, and I haven’t yet mastered bringing forth good when shaken. I have, however, had some success in applying the principle. Years ago, contracting as a motivational speaker, I was to address about 200 managers and conduct a seminar on how to frame questions to produce a positive response. I left early and was on I-35 E when I was struck from behind. Before I could gather myself and turn off the ignition, the lady that hit me was already at my door banging on my window blaming me for the accident.
I could feel the anger welling up. After a quiet prayer, I reasoned that nothing good would result if I got out breathing fire. Instead, I began to think of those who loved her and would miss her if she were late. Thus armed, I got out and attempted to engage her in discussion. Initially, she would have none of it; however, after a few minutes she began to weep and then threw herself into my arms. She then revealed that her husband had just been diagnosed with stage four cancer. I attempted to console her; we talked, we prayed, we forgave each other and eventually we went our separate ways.
As I drove, it occurred to me that she hadn’t seen me and that she wasn’t screaming at me. She was merely screaming. And, if I had allowed myself to be shaken, I would never have been able help her. God had placed an alternative to indignation in my heart. He does indeed work in wondrous ways.
Ed Jones pastors Fellowship at the Ranch Church at Robson Ranch. This nondenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. For information, visit Fellowship’s website: www.fellowshipattheranchchurch.com.