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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The voice of "me"

 19 Let angry people endure the backlash of their own anger;
   if you try to make it better, you'll only make it worse. 
(Proverbs 19:19)

There is a message in this passage that has two-sides to it.  The first is the fact that short-fused individuals reap a return on their lack of self-control quicker than they'd like.  The end-result of their outbursts is that a "wake" is left.  That wake leaves damages that are often unable to be repaired.  Trust is lost, respect is disintegrated, and relationships are brought to ruin.

Yet, the most dangerous place to be is in the middle trying to either "reign in" or "mitigate the fall-out" of the outbursts of an individual that has no real sense of what their outbursts are doing.  At some point, we may need to step back.  When we are in the middle, the backlash affects us often more than it does the individual with the lack of self-control.  How many times do we get "involved" in something that was the direct result of somebody else's lack of "self-control"?  

Self-control is just that - it is the ability to respond with internal measures of control that allow us to "reign ourselves in"!  To attempt to mitigate the lack of self-control of another is like trying to hold back the waters of a mighty swelling floodwater!

27 If you quit listening, dear child, and strike off on your own,
   you'll soon be out of your depth. 
(Proverbs 19:27)

This second passage from the nineteenth Proverb struck me this morning because it presents the reality of not heeding direction - we get into deep waters.  Don't miss the fact that the writer implies that at some point we STOP listening.  That implies that at some point, we were.  Either by conscious decision, or unconscious lack of self-control, we stopped.

When we stop listening to the wise counsel of those that God has placed in our lives, we open ourselves up to listening to loudest voice.  That could be our own voice, crying out "I don't get it!", "What is up with this?", or "This is so wrong!"  It could be the voice of others who also have stopped listening to wise counsel, crying out "We were wronged!", "This is unfair!", or "No one ever listens to us!"  

It really doesn't matter what the message is - the center of that message is almost always directed the perception that "me" did not get heard, their wish granted, or their plans heeded.  "Me" gets in the way of a whole lot of wise choices!  The most dangerous part of listening to the voice of "me" is that "me" soon finds itself out in the deep waters of adversity and realizes that "me" is all alone in that place of uncertainty.

The sooner that we recognize that the voice of "me" is not always the most reliable voice to respond to, the better our chances are of remaining on stable footing!