“Don’t pass along the negative things she does.”
This thought came to mind after a loved one told me about another loved one’s bad decisions.
So I didn’t pass along what this person reported to me.
The next day the troubled individual made another bad choice. But this time I told others. They loved her and would want to know, I thought.
Then this occurred to me: But did they need to hear it from me?
The instruction from the day before came to mind again, and I believed it came from the Lord.
As I reflected, I realized how often I passed along bad reports. When I did, I felt more discouraged.
In this matter, I could have waited until the person who made bad decisions told her version of what happened, which she did.
When I went to my work place, I remained silent about my loved ones irresponsible and what looked like irrational behavior. In the past I told details–to get them off my chest, I told myself.
When I didn’t “tell” this time, I felt so much better in my emotional life, and in how I viewed the one who did wrong. Instead of allowing bitterness to brew, I prayed about the loved one and asked God to redeem the situation. I gave thanks to the Lord in regard to what didn’t and what could have happened. I thanked God for positive qualities in this person.
In the last two days, as I reflected on how I tend to speak out loud negative details of people’s behaviors that affect me, I realized when I do that, it pleases the devil.
“I can’t believe the latest thing she did,” I tell others and give the details.
In my mind I can now picture the enemy celebrating each time I do that. While I say, “Isn’t it terrible?” he probably says, “Yes, it is, and I’m so glad–especially with her reporting how I was able to get her loved one to do wrong.”
Further, I saw my tendency to bring a “bad report,” communicated, “God is not answering my prayers.”
The truth remains that God does answer my prayers. And His instruction to refrain from passing along a negative report will help keep matters calmer in the family and also keep me from feeling depressed about circumstances, which feel too difficult to bear.
I determine to keep my eyes open for good news—even small changes in the lives of those not walking with the Lord.
The conclusion I came to about the latest situation is that God will use it to turn around the life of this person whose name lies near the top of my prayer list. I have asked God many times in the past to “please do something to intervene in her life.” Once again He has, but not in the way I thought would happen. He allowed her to go further in her negative choices than I thought she could to urge her toward a turn-around and to show those closest to her—including me–how they may be contributing to her problems.
I heard more negative news yesterday, and instead of passing it along, I prayed and thanked God for some positive aspects of the seemingly “bad news.”
Today I celebrate how much God loves me and my loved ones–even when we mess up.
I seek God daily with how to reach out to my troubled loved one. A vital instruction He gives often: “Pray.” I also feel led to send a card to let her know I’m praying and a few details of what I’m praying for her.
I look forward to how God will use these present heartbreaking circumstances to bring about good. He’s a genius when it comes to that.
In the “mean time,” Philippians 4:8 repeatedly comes to mind: “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Thinking about “such things” helps keep me from speaking negativity.
Also, I hold to Romans 8:28: “and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” and “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” James 5:16b.
And I’m letting God hold me. It’s a wonderful place to be.
“Just Be Held” by Casting Crowns