As we approach the kickoff to the holiday season, I encourage you to keep this verse pinned close to your heart. Maybe even taking the next 3 days to memorize it would be a good thing, so that when you find yourself in those tricky family situations or those hard to bear conversations you can immediately reflect on His word & not other people’s. Psalm 119:11 says “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you”. It is important for us to have His word impressed on our heart. Even if we can’t remember it verbatim, just having something close to His words can help get us through a sticky situation.
With emotional events like the recent election & turning over of the White House rule shortly after Christmas, this year could be an especially emotional year & deliver a lot of hotly & passionately-debated conversation. So how do we as believers handle this? Well, it is pretty simple, actually.
Regardless of where you stand & what your opinion is we are told to love one another. John 13 tells us that pretty plainly, but we are also instructed to control our words & our hearts in conjunction with not only showing love, but showing that we are disciples of Jesus & not products of this world.
- 1 John 3:11 – For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
- Leviticus 19:18 – You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
- Matthew 5:44 – But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.
- Galatians 5:14 – For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
At this point in this conversation, it could go in 100 different directions. So I’m not going to launch into the different legs of when to stand & when to sit & when to be silent & when to speak up, but I do want to leave you with this wisdom:
“A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds back.” (Proverbs 29:11)
“Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.” (Proverbs 21:23)
Lastly we are going to swing around to Ephesians 4:29: “Let no corrupt talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear”.
That says it all right there! So I encourage you, if you know Thursday could be a tough day or has the potential to go bad, write out these verses. Store them in your heart (or if you are like me, in your pocket) & when it all starts to go wrong, step away & spend just a few quiet moments with God. Pray these verses over your house & over your family & yourself. Walk through your gathering & silently pray these for those around you. Don’t know what to say or if you should say anything? Just pray. Reflect on His word & this Thanksgiving, show the world that we are disciples of the One, The Holy, the true God.