Last semester (Fall 2007), I had an experience to remember. It occurred during a staff meeting as I helped my employees “regroup,” if you know what I mean. 🙂 As I discussed our areas of improvement, one employee stood up and rebutted everything I had said. Instantly, the “old me” showed up, and I thought of SO MANY responses. As usual, GOD showed up, suppressed my frustration, and helped me respond professionally.
It’s tempting to retaliate – especially when you’ve been disrespected – but David reminds us that no response is often the best response. In the scene captured above, David had Saul right where he wanted him. Just a quick background on this scene – Saul was hunting David and had tried to kill him numerous times before. Although David had every reason to grant Abishai’s request, he resisted the temptation. He knew that temporary satisfaction could end in permanent torment.
I’m sure that no one reading this email is thinking of killing anyone, but you may be tempted to say what you feel. I know the words are flowing and your anger won’t simmer, but don’t do it! I think this quote will give you ample incentive to bite your tongue, even when you don’t feel like it: “The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing in the right place, but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment” (Lady Dorothy Nevill).
… be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry (James 1:19, New Living Translation)