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Are you ready to explode?

The crooked park 

It was early afternoon and I was rushing into work for a meeting.  The hospital car park was almost at capacity and I drove around frantically, frustrated by the unwelcome delay.  At the last minute, I swung into a narrow space, leapt out of the car and bolted for the lifts. 

Feedback – friend or foe? 

Two hours later, I was back at the car.  A small piece of paper peeped out from the windscreen wipers.  My curiosity piqued, I plucked it from them and inspected the messy scrawl. I wished I hadn’t. Profanity screamed out of the grey-lead lettering. Words I rarely saw pierced my spirit like a knife. Evidently, someone had not appreciated the angle of my car. Glancing at its proximity to the thick white line, I could see why! In my rush, I had narrowed in on the left, making it almost impossible for any car beside me to exit in my absence. 

Explode or care? 

For a split second, I paused. Usually, bad language feels crushing. I tend to loathe the person delivering it, and feel prompted to defend the righteousness of ‘moral filters for the tongue’. Not today. A heavy sadness covered my soul. Instead of anger, I was surprised to feel compassion. Here was someone who, in anger, had taken the time to pour out that anger on a scrap of paper. It’s one thing to froth out words on impulse, but to write them requires a more deliberate – and reversible – effort. Clearly this person felt so frustrated, they could not contain their wrath.  

I reflected on the pressures in society in general at the time. The pandemic was in full swing. Melbourne, where I lived, had suffered more restrictions than most states. I was reminded that while the hospital was a workplace for me, for others it represented a place of pain, powerlessness and grief. Who knew what this man or woman was experiencing behind the scenes? I breathed a prayer for them, eased my Toyota out of the space, and drove home, sobered. 

Power to respond well 

Why is it that sometimes peacemaking feels like climbing Everest, and other times it almost flows without thought? 

I was well rested and vibrant that day. I had started the morning with a ninety-minute swim, and my usual breakfast of oats, wheat bran, banana and milk fuelled me well. My children were healthy and, unlike so many, had thrived on the recent months of school over Zoom. The night before, I had spent time reading God’s Word. My mind was in tune with His priorities, his nature. By looking after my body and my soul – God’s temple (see 1 Corinthians 6:19, NLT), I had more in the tank for every-day conflict.   

Taking responsibility 

Significantly, I was also able to see, and own, ‘my part’. In Matthew 7, the author counsels, “…First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye” (Matthew 7:5, NLT). Connecting with God reminds me that I’m flawed, and that that’s OK. He reassures me that forgiveness is an essential part of relationship, and that his refining work in us continues until he returns (see Philippians 1:6).   

Equipped 

Do you have the tools for everyday conflict? Is God’s heart at the forefront of your thoughts? Are you taking care of his gift to you – your body and mind, regardless of the competing pressures that are a normal part of life? Be encouraged. His Word, and his Spirit, are there to serve you in these moments. 

And if you would like to go deeper into these concepts, PeaceWise offers courses all over Australia, both in person and online, to equip you to respond as Jesus would. 

This article is by Tammy Brinsmead. Tammy is a medical doctor and mother to three beautiful girls.  In her spare time she likes to curl up with a novel, make vegan pancakes or go roller-blading with the kids.  

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