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An image of a scene made with toys. A woman with her hands on her hips looks on, annoyed, at two men talking.

I offended someone recently. My sin consisted in forwarding an article regarding an important moral issue that had spurred controversy in the midst of a political campaign.

Normally, I refrain from such behavior, because I am as annoyed as anyone by emails spouting political opinions.  But this time, the matter seemed of critical importance.

One of the relatives I sent it to reacted as though he’d been stung by killer bees, scolding me for sending an article contradicting his views. I don’t really blame him. He probably thought I was judging him and trying to persuade him. (I admit to the latter offense.)

Despite his reaction, I couldn’t help wondering if most of us would benefit from an occasional “sting,” especially when we’re in danger of veering off course. (Surely a delightful question to ponder when you are the “stinger” rather than the “stingee.”)

As I thought about the issue, I concluded I had made a mistake. I was wrong to have sent the article without first praying for wisdom, especially since I knew it was likely to provoke a negative reaction. I had merely acted on instinct, too busy to take the time to wait for God’s guidance. And that was unwise.

To show you I am not a total dunce in the wisdom business, let me share another recent experience. I’d been praying for weeks about how to handle a situation that had arisen with one of my children who’s not particularly good at letting me know about homework assignments, special projects, or school events. I had tried to talk to her about the issue but nothing had changed. The answer to my prayer for wisdom finally came at the end of a week in which she experienced a series of miscommunications on the part of her teachers.

As we discussed the issue, I promised to talk with the school to see if there was a way to open the lines of communication so that it didn’t happen again. That’s when it occurred to me that God had just provided a door for me to walk through—a perfect opening to discuss my daughter’s own problems with communication. “Honey,” I said. “You know how frustrating it was for you when teachers didn’t tell you what you needed to know? I feel frustrated when I don’t know what’s going on at school because you don’t tell me. I need to know what’s happening if I’m going to be able to help you. Do you think you could do better in the future?”

Yes, came the answer, and without any defensiveness.

God has a thousand ways to give us the wisdom we need, but we need to ask and wait for it. If we let fear, anger, desire, or busyness push us to act before we have the wisdom to act rightly, we will miss out on the blessings wisdom can bring.





Originally published September 06, 2018.