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Today’s Truth

Calmness can lay great offenses to rest.

Ecclesiastes 10:4

Friend to Friend

I could feel a wave of tension the minute the words left my mouth.

I hadn’t said anything wrong, nothing offensive or provoking. My colleague and I had been trying to come up with a solution to business problem. And, simply, I’d made a suggestion she disagreed with. Although only a cell phone connected us, I could feel her disapproval.

I’ll be honest. Everything in me wanted to backpedal, to interrupt her strong and emotional response with a lawyer-esque defense. As she declared her dead-opposite position, I mentally gathered all the reasons she should consider my point of view. I wanted to explain until we reached agreement, using my powers of coercion to get us back on the same side. The mere presence of tension made me both uncomfortable and afraid. What if the sting of disagreement changed our relationship?

Besides, I really did believe my position held merit. And I knew without a doubt that I hadn’t intended any offense. I simply want to share an alternative point of view. For whatever reason, she wasn’t in a position to hear it or receive it.

Somehow, in spite of my urge to respond in kind, I decided to take a deep breath. To listen, rather than delivering a defense. To acknowledge her point of view, regardless of our different perspectives. As a result, our conversation calmed almost as quickly as it escalated. As a result, we came up with a compromised solution to our problem and moved forward. And our momentary disagreement was abandoned for new growth.

If only all my interpersonal disagreements ended so beautifully. Unfortunately, I often allow my own emotions to rise rather than allowing the calmness to reign.

Recently I read through the book of Ecclesiastes, and in the middle of King Solomon’s deep ponderings on the meaning of life, I found seven words that stopped me in my tracks:

“Calmness can lay great offenses to rest” (Ecclesiastes 10:4b).

Whoa. How many times have I longed for more calmness in my life? And yet, how often have I allowed calmness to reign in my mind and heart and conversations?

The truth is, you and I have a choice. When a friend or spouse or child or stranger reacts with intensity and emotion, we don’t have to respond in kind. We can allow calmness to buffer our emotion and words, bringing a safe and kind tone even to necessary disagreement. In the process, offenses can be minimized or disappear altogether, like a spark that never finds dry wood to enflame.

Let your words be a blanket of calmness to those longing for the warmth of peace.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, Jesus set the example of calmness in the face of opposition and rejection. He brought peace where there was pain, rest where there was weariness. As ambassadors of your love and grace, Father, show us how to be a balm of calmness to our relationships, with loved ones as well as strangers, so the world can know your peace even in the storm.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

How do you handle disagreement and tension? Do you react and retaliate, or withdraw and isolate? Does tension make you want to run for the hills? Or have you learned to lean into the hard places because of the growth and connection that can result? Tension and conflict can be the means to tremendous growth when we allow the calmness of God’s presence to create an atmosphere of safety and grace.

More from the Girlfriends

Are you exhausted from the never-ending struggle to know who you are and prove your worth? God offers rest and wholeness, relief from the drive to be enough. It’s time for a new way to live. Begin 2018 with the book that can spark the heart-transition you’ve bene longing for: I Am: A 60-day Journey to Knowing Who You Are Because of Who He Is.

19 Responses to “A Light in the Dark”

  1. Lydia Cox Shepherd says:

    I enjoyed today’s devotional. Just wanted to note a slight typo. I wanted to highlight the verse from Ecclesiastes 10:46, but chapter 10 only has 20 verses…. it forced me to read the whole chapter, and I needed that, but it should be Ecclesiastes 10:4b. Thank you for all the wonderful devotionals!

  2. Esther Schultz says:

    On today’s devotional (Jan 25,2018) a reference from Ecclesiastes 10:46 was quoted. But there is no such verse. Could someone please tell me the correct reference?
    Thanks!

  3. There was a misprint for this verse. There is no Ecclesiasstes 10:46. Could you please repost where this verse is found?

  4. Askia says:

    I am definitely adding this to my devotional journal. Calm…Quiet…Thank you.

    *One note, the Scripture is Ecclesiastes 10:4❤️

  5. Shimere says:

    Today’s scripture had a typo twice it should read Ecclesiastes 10:4b (b as the second part of verse 4 and not a 6).
    Great devotion to be the peace in a storm. Thank you! We love and appreciate all of you daily!

  6. Karen says:

    Loved this devotion today. I’m a fixer, doer, perfectionist, so I find it hard to just sit still in the quiet and enjoy the calm. I so needed this reminder today. Thank you!

    *Also, the scripture is Ecclesiastes 10:4b 🙂

  7. Heather says:

    I really needed to hear this message today. I realize it will be beneficial for my daughter and me, since she is just as strong-willed as I am! Thank you!

  8. Shelly Harmon says:

    I received my daily devotional today, the verse was Ecclesiastes 10:46, the chapter doesn’t go to 46, so I was wondering if I could have to correct verse. Please And thank you

  9. Shelly Harmon says:

    Ecclesiastes 10:46, does not exist. I would like the correct verse. Please and Thank you

  10. Kathy M says:

    As I was reading this devotional, I was thinking how I sometimes even agree with people who want to start an argument. If the point of the argument will not really matter, it is easier for everyone to give grace. Such as how long ago something happened or what happened in a particular circumstance years ago. I have to often remind myself of this as my first reaction is to correct them. God bless you for reminding me … a soft answer turns away wrath … Proverbs 15:1.

  11. Rebecca Jones says:

    I have been looking for my Jesus calm a lot lately. It amazes me how He kept His mouth shut through all that abuse and pain, but that is why it was love.

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