Do What Now
Do What Now?
I am a Southerner – through and through. I was raised in Northern Mississippi by parents who came from a one flashing light small town. My Southern accent is a dead giveaway of my heritage…so, are many of my Southern sayings. There is one that I use way too much and it is “do what now?” In the South, if we didn’t hear you or understand what you said, we will ask, “Do what now?” We are simply asking you to say what you said again or to explain yourself. We use it to avoid misunderstandings.
Misunderstandings…oh, those can wreak havoc, can’t they? There are times when we jump to assumptions simply because we misunderstood the other person. I remember a time when I totally misunderstood my oldest daughter. Jessica was a pre-teen and had been exposed to some “sex talk” at school. She had questions. One day as we were riding in the car she began to ask them. Now, most of you would agree that when that type of conversation begins with your child - there is also conversations going on in our heads. “Oh my word, what is she about to ask?” “Yikes! How much information should I tell her?” “Lord, help me, PLEASE!” Right? Well, that was happening that day. I was praying and asking God to help me respond to my daughter in a way that made her comfortable so she would always come to me. I did not want to react and especially not over-react to anything she said. I was determined to remain calm. Then…she…said…it. Oh my! We had parked the car and were now facing each other. She looked up at me and with a straight face asked, “Does it matter which hole you put it in?” DO WHAT NOW? WHAT DID SHE JUST SAY? “Don’t react, Pam!!!! Don’t react!!!!” Suddenly she could see the horror on my face and she shouted out, “The mail, Mama!!!! Does it matter which slot I drop it in?” Whew! The mail…that’s right. We were sitting in the parking lot of the post office and she was about to run the mail in for me. She got out of the car and I slumped down in the seat. The mail…thank goodness she was talking about…the mail!
Just like I misunderstood Jessica’s question – we have misunderstandings all the time. Let’s look at a few...
We misunderstand what life is really all about. The world and Satan continually tell us that “It is ALL about me.” We become confused. See…as Christians we know in our brain that that is not true. We know that we have been given the Great Commission. We learned that in Sunday School. Matthew 28:19-20 instructs us:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
We read that and we think, “Do what now? What are we supposed to be doing?” Let’s ask ourselves…is that our focus? Be honest. Is our focus on sharing the gospel or is our focus on little ole me? Let’s take this challenge. Let’s mentally note how many times our sentences start with “I”, “I feel”, “I can’t believe”, “I want”, “I need”, “I have to”, etc. Let’s listen to our thoughts and our conversations and determine if we focus on our problems or do we focus on our blessings? We, as a society – are mis-focused. We as Christ followers are mis-focused. We place too much focus on “me” and not enough focus on Him. What we focus on – we give power to. So, here is our choice – we can focus on “me” and feel victimized – or – we can focus on Him and see Him glorified in our life.
We misunderstand others – all…the…time. We jump to assumptions – just like I did with Jessica. We assume we know what the other person means – without really hearing them or understanding them. We get angry. We judge people. We mistreat people. All the while – feeling justified – in doing so. After all – look what they said or did. But where in the Bible does it say that is okay? Well, it’s not okay. Throughout the New Testament are commands to believers to live at peace with one another. We are to love one another, to be patient and kind, to consider others before ourselves, and to bear each other’s burdens. Romans 12:10 tells us:
“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.”
Do what now? What does that mean? Well, it means that the greatest proof we can offer that Christ is alive in us – is the way we love one another. So what basis do we have to put our hands on our hips and say, “Yeah, but….she…”? There is no basis for that. We are to offer others grace, make sure we understand their heart and intentions, and love them unconditionally.
Our pastor shared recently that we see things through the lens of our perspective. How we were raised, the life events we have experienced and what we have been taught by our mentors has greatly influenced our perspective. Perspective is a particular view of a situation or facts from one person’s point of view. So, what I am trying to share here is that so many times when we have misunderstandings in our life – it is because we only see the situation through our perspective. To keep peace – we should pause and try to see it from the other person’s perspective. Just because we see it one way – does not mean that is the only way to see the situation. I think all of us are guilty of placing way too much value on our opinion. What do you think? Romans 15:5 tells us…
“Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus.”
Do what now? How do we do that? Have harmony? Well, what if we took off the lens of our perspective and chose to see things through the lens of God’s truth. Even if I don’t agree with her choices – she is still fearfully and wonderfully made. Even if she hurt my feelings – God loves her with an everlasting love. Even if she annoys me – I am to love her unconditionally.
Let me wrap this up be saying, it is my prayer today that we will focus on the God who loved us before anyone even knew we existed; that we will allow Him to consume our life and fill us up with His goodness; and that His unconditional love and acceptance will overflow out of us and all over others – so that they too may come to know the One who will never misunderstand us.
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