By Pastor Nathan Richardson   Heartland Community Church, La Porte City

Interruptions should not bring out our worst

What happens when your life is surprised by an unexpected interruption? Stuff happens, but how you handle it is very telling of who you are as a person. Chuck Swindoll once said, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” If you react poorly, there can be a snowball effect and may escalate to be a lot bigger problem than it was.

James 1:19-20 says “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
I think this scripture is pure common sense. People are very unpredictable and we need to find a way to choose love over immature reactions. Based on this scripture we can do three things to help us love better.

1. Listen more. If we admit it, most people are horrible at listening, including ourselves. Many people spend more time in a conversation thinking how they will reply rather than listening to a person’s needs. Listening allows us to connect and shows we care about the individual.

Peter Scazzero in his book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality says, we need to “recognize everyone is made in the image of God.” This is an I-Though type of relationship. We need to understand everyone deserves respect, dignity and worth. We need to focus on similarities to bring people together in spite of our difference.

Rather we can be easily frustrated when someone disagrees with us or when they don’t fit into our plans. This is an I-It relationship. I-it relationships are judgmental, and one you think you are superior to the other. This can be a comparison trap. This is when we focus on each other’s differences to divide instead of our similarities.

2. Speak less. We may be bad at listening but we are great at talking. When you are speaking you are not learning. Therefore you will never be able to understand where another person is coming from. This will impede our growth and transformation.

Pharisees were smart and they let you know it. They memorized the first five books of the Bible, prayed five times a day, tithed, gave to the poor, and even shared their faith. They, however, lacked compassion and love. Their devotion for God did not cross over to love of neighbor. They accused Jesus of being a glutton and a drunkard rather than trying to understand why he was a friend of tax collectors and sinners. (Matt. 11:19)Jesus was accused of a lot but never was defensive. Yet we never stop trying to defend ourselves. How dare someone attack our reputation?

3. Calm down and breathe. Anger never solves anything. Anger is usually birthed in narcissism and shows our lack of control. We need to learn to cope with stress and interruptions or we will be a walking time bomb just waiting to explode the next time we are surprised by the unexpected.

We need to learn to listen more, speak less and calm down and breathe. In turn this would lower our stress levels. We would have better relationship. We would have less to worry because we would experience less drama in our lives. Interruptions should not bring out our worst but our grace, love, and joy.