At a city wide pastor and wives event we were seated at a table with another couple whom we have known for some time. Everyone knows this couple. When most think of this couple, I think words such as "loud" and maybe even "obnoxious" come to mind. This couple loves the Lord but are known for sharing their opinions freely with much authority.
On the way home I asked my hubby, " I wonder if I there are any ways that I appear to others in a different way than I see myself?”
It didn't take long to find out.
We attended a reunion of Christians we met in the 70s during the "Jesus Coffee House" era. It was wonderful to see these people, many of whom still serve the Lord. As I interacted with someone I've known for years, a remark was made to me that took me aback. Basically the person told me he didn't think I liked him.
I was shocked. Of course I like him. In fact, I admire him and his ministry. I was hurt by his remark to me. I asked him, with admittedly some defensiveness, to explain what he meant and he told me.
I was ready to tell him that he misunderstood me and took my actions the wrong way when my earlier prayer came to mind. Could this be the answer? Could God be showing me how I can look to others?
I left the reunion feeling a little bruised, but the more I pondered it and tried to see it through his eyes, the more I began to realize that my actions could easily be interpreted as he apparently had interpreted them, even though I didn't mean them in a negative way.
Years ago, we used to hear about “The Reproofs of Life." I don’t hear that phrase used anymore, but what it means is this: We learn from difficult things that life teaches us. Not watching where we are going and falling down is a “reproof of life." Getting caught for stealing something is a “reproof of life."
Being told you hurt someone can be a “reproof of life."
Proverbs 15:31 teaches this principle “He whose ear listens to the life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise.”
I emailed my old friend and thanked him sincerely for his remark to me. It was a reproof that opened my eyes to a way I appeared to others that I was not aware of. I began to think about how I can come across to others.from their perspective.
It’s easy to miss the reproofs of life. It’s easy to think “Boy is he touchy, I was just kidding," or “Of course I didn’t mean it that way, he took it the wrong way."
As PW’s, our actions are scrutinized--and in many cases, unfairly. But we can grow as women and Christians if we don’t simply write off the remarks of others as unfair.
Perhaps there is a grain of truth in the observations of others that we can learn from.
Ask ourselves: how did I look from their eyes? How did this sound to their ears? Even though I had good motives, from their perspective, could it look different?
My friend didn’t know he was giving me “life giving reproof” with his remark, but by looking at our interaction from his eyes, I gained some fresh new perspective and plan to approach people in a slightly different way in the future, more mindful of how I come across to others.
About the Author:
Deb Harrold has been a Christ follower since 1972. She is a pastor's wife, mother, grandmother, nurse, and ladies Bible teacher. You can connect with Deb at her blog, http://themistyflats.blogspot.