I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
I was fixing supper and had everything pretty well under control so I decided to step out front and see how Bill was getting along in the “bicycle repair business.” He’s quite a “handy man.”
As I stepped out the door, he looked up and said, “Boy, am I glad to see you! I need some help.” Now, through the years I have learned one thing very well: I do not “help” Bill the way he likes someone to help. I may hand him the hammer the wrong way, or get the wrong screwdriver, or set the ladder up wrong, who knows — it’s just wrong! My emotions start going up and I wish I had stayed inside and stirred the beans.
He’s all crouched down in an awkward position and says to me, “I need you to shim this screw right here.”
Shim? Shim? Well, there’s Shem, Ham, and Japheth — that’s the only “shem” in my vocabulary.
“I don’t see what you mean, Honey.”
He can move only his little finger, so pointing as best he can he says, once again, “This screw. I need you to shim it for me.”
“I’m sorry. I don’t understand.”
My emotions are doing quite well on their upward climb — probably three-quarters of the way to being completely undone. He finally gets me to understand (increased decibels and terse statements, guaranteed to prod the emotions in their upward climb).
So now, I’m on the pavement, holding the screwdriver (shimming), and he’s in the garage getting whatever mysterious thing it is he needs to complete his repair job.
What’s going on inside of me? Bad things. I want to let him know he has hurt me, and several destructive ways to do that are suggested to me via my thought-life: “I just never do things to please you, do I?” (I’ve chosen that one many times before, and I know the results: another ruined, tension-filled evening in the Gillham household.) But another thought comes to me — obviously from a different source — a balm, a positive statement, muttered through gritted teeth no doubt with emotions stomping their feet, demanding that I retaliate. The thought? A rather nauseating one. “It amazes me, the way you can fix these broken bikes, Hon.” (I decide to use the balm instead of the bomb. It wasn’t easy.)
You talk about defusing a tense situation! Even now, in retelling the story, I get a surge of relief. Those few words set me free. (Of course, Bill was oblivious to the proceedings that were going on inside me where the emotions had reached the pinnacle and were screaming for vengance!) That statement was not easy for me to make, and there is no way I could have made it outside of the power that is mine because of Christ.
Letting Him do it for you works such miracles. Opting for the first “vengeance is mine” choice seems harmless, but one time plus another time equals two times, plus several more times equals many times, plus many more times equals hundreds of such “little” episodes, which equals untotaled hours of tension, which equals divorce. They build. You store them up and then regurgitate them, and as you dwell on them, your emotions climb higher and higher and when you have a confrontation — even a minor one — out they all spill!
The bicycle story had a happy ending for both of us: I didn’t get depressed out of my tree and Bill had a renewed sense of competency — his ability to repair a broken bicycle. Oh, joy!
Letting Christ live through you to defuse a volatile setting isn’t easy — but oh, how wonderful! Instead of setting off the fireworks and causing a runaway fire with disastrous results, you can enjoy the sparklers together!