So I sent messengers to them, saying, "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?" NKJVNehemiah was no fool to fall for the trap of Sanballat and Geshem but not being a fool he also answered their request diplomatically and with all honesty.
Nehemiah could have replied, "You filthy dogs, raging before thyselves! Do you know no honor nor fear of the most High God? We have much work and no time for your yapping, take your swords and begone! Know that the strength our God is with us this day!"
But he didn't. He said, "I am busy with important work and cannot come. Should all this work be stopped so that we can meet?"
Nehemiah did not charge them with their sins or evil motives. He did not make excuses or lie in evasion of their invitation. He neither made his reasons because of them or because of something that was untrue. Nehemiah received their message and made it about himself.
Not, "I know your plans."
Not, "I'm sorry I'm too sick."
He only said, "I am doing something great, I cannot come. I will not stop to meet with you."
He did not say more than what was true or needed, but he did not sugarcoat or take away from his reply either.
He did not make others part of the equation for his own thoughts and actions. Others did not become his excuse. His action was his own, his reason was his own, and that only ceased for the Lord in that he was for the Lord.
It is very easy at times to make others the reasons for our actions or shortcomings, even the state of our hearts. I need to check myself and continue in prayer for peace and softness of heart. I am allowing myself to become infected with a poor spirit by the actions and behavior of another, and at times it is spilling over into my analyses of other situations, people and things as well. God keeps giving me peace and calmness, but I keep allowing that gift he's given me to be broken by them; except they are not breaking it, I am breaking it because of MY problem with them. They cannot touch my mind or heart, and they cannot touch the peace that Christ gives me. They don't even understand the effects of their behavior, and while it is their action, it is the reaction, both that is displayed and within my own heart, that I am responsible for and that I have control over.
Even in those times that I am rightly justified in having a problem with their actions or behavior, I am not justified in being bothered by what they have or have not done and am certainly not justified in making them an excuse for my own heart and clouding the way I look at the other, perfectly fine and right, things they do.
Christ has shown me agape and forgiveness, perfect love and mercy, when I was the one who nailed Him to the cross; He has justified me and sanctified me by a sacrifice greater than anything I could ever imagine or could ever know; and He, the man who has done all of that for me, asks that I do the same for others. He is justified in this, what He asks is only right. It is little more than a reasonable act of worship. Calmness of my own heart, a soul that does not waver, is hardly some great sacrifice simply because I am bothered and find it difficult to forgive and let be each time someone proves that, like me, they really are human. I need the same forgiveness, gentleness and longsuffering from them for my own screw ups and shortcomings, and I shouldn't expect it or even hope for it if such love can't first come from me, whether that lack of it burns on my face or is kept firmly in my heart to smolder.
I will lay all my burdens at the cross and praise God for the freedom He has given me to love and be loved by this body of which we are members.
Today I'd like to share Margaret DeStefano's IBS with everyone. :)
that He brings
what He wants
for the reasons
He wants it.