Truth Bomb: Who we are, what we do along with how we respond to difficulties matters to others who look to us in their efforts to do what is right and good.
What a morning!! My day as a mom, wife, teacher and coach began with the dog escaping from the backyard just before piling the kids into the car to get to our respective schools. We chased down the dog, who was having great fun, and finally got him back to where he belonged. I’m pretty sure he was laughing at us while getting all that attention. But as for me, I was ticked.
Usually being early to school, I now rushed to my classroom to get all the materials ready and in place for the first graders who would soon come down the hallway. What I didn’t prepare was my disposition. I was still angry at the dog situation that occurred earlier. My thoughts were making me disgruntled still. The dog was to blame. Running through the neighborhood yelling for the dog was to blame. My own kids leaving the gate open were to blame. It made my morning rushed not peaceful, stressful and full of dislike for the dog.
First graders came excitedly down the hallway expecting what they nearly always got—a smiling teacher who welcomed them with open arms at the door. Because I was finishing the preparation for them, I was not at my “post” at the door. Instead, they found me in the classroom. They were met with a simple hello while my attention was on the resources.
After a few minutes of settling in for the day, I noticed that snarly behavior was beginning to rise from my beloved first graders. God told me why. They were responding to what they saw and felt from me! Ugh, I was ashamed at my own realization of a bad disposition. I was corrected by God’s Holy Spirit in me. Although humiliating, the correction was necessary. A solution to the problem also came to me.
I stopped everything and shouted, “Do over!” I told them that Mrs. Callaway had a bad morning before coming to school but they didn’t have to “catch” the illness of my own disappointment. So, I told them we were going to begin this beautiful day all over again. I told them to go out into the hallway and pretend that this never happened. Surprised, but always up for something different, they dutifully went into the hallway. I shut the door for a nano second and then opened it, stood in the doorway smiling and welcomed each student to a brand new day. That changed everything!
What a lesson I learned that day! Who I am, my inner disposition, affects my behavior and the behavior of all those around me. Do we want the best? Then think and act the best!
So, what is best? Ask this question: Are my thoughts, attitudes, with resulting behavior beautiful, holy, humble, gracious and kind—or not? If life isn’t going well around us, we must first look inside ourselves to examine what is radiating from our own being.
“Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.” –Peter, the Rock
1 Peter 3, The Message
Cultivate Inner Beauty
1-4 The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated by your life of holy beauty. What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition.
4-6 Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. The holy women of old were beautiful before God that way, and were good, loyal wives to their husbands. Sarah, for instance, taking care of Abraham, would address him as “my dear husband.” You’ll be true daughters of Sarah if you do the same, unanxious and unintimidated.
7 The same goes for you husbands: Be good husbands to your wives. Honor them, delight in them. As women they lack some of your advantages. But in the new life of God’s grace, you’re equals. Treat your wives, then, as equals so your prayers don’t run aground.
Suffering for Doing Good
8-12 Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.
Whoever wants to embrace life
and see the day fill up with good,
Here’s what you do:
Say nothing evil or hurtful;
Snub evil and cultivate good;
run after peace for all you’re worth.
God looks on all this with approval,
listening and responding well to what he’s asked;
But he turns his back
on those who do evil things.
13-18 If with heart and soul you’re doing good, do you think you can be stopped? Even if you suffer for it, you’re still better off. Don’t give the opposition a second thought. Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that they’re the ones who need a bath. It’s better to suffer for doing good, if that’s what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad. That’s what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others’ sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all—was put to death and then made alive—to bring us to God.
19-22 He went and proclaimed God’s salvation to earlier generations who ended up in the prison of judgment because they wouldn’t listen. You know, even though God waited patiently all the days that Noah built his ship, only a few were saved then, eight to be exact—saved from the water by the water. The waters of baptism do that for you, not by washing away dirt from your skin but by presenting you through Jesus’ resurrection before God with a clear conscience. Jesus has the last word on everything and everyone, from angels to armies. He’s standing right alongside God, and what he says goes.
Indeed, what you say goes for you have the last word on everything and everyone! I’m not the judge, you are. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for correcting me when my disposition reflects the opposite of who I really am in You. Thank you for saving my soul, making me whole and holy before you. Thank you for listening to me while I seek your voice above all other voices in this world. Thank you for speaking to my heart. Thank for being with me. Continue to teach and transform me, all of me, including my inner disposition, so nothing stands between our intimate relationship.
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen