Jump Start # 3233
1 Timothy 4:12 “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.”
Our verse today are the words of the apostle to the young preacher Timothy. Timothy had the word of God but what he lacked was experience. He was young. The battle scars that many carried were not found on young Timothy. He would have his own battles to fight in life. Rather than throwing a pity party, Paul tells the young preacher to show them. Show them how to live. Be an example.
Looking down on your youthfulness—I wonder what that looks like? Is it rolled eyes when the single preacher teaches about marriage? Was it a scoff, snicker and disbelief when a young preacher tried to teach about parenting? I expect things were said. They may have been said just loud enough for Timothy to hear them. Just loud enough to sting and hurt. Sometimes brethren can be cruel. Sometimes they won’t give a young person a chance simply because he is young.
What should one do when he has been hurt by someone else? Whether it’s a young preacher, or a senior saint, words stick and they have a way of hurting a long time after they have been said. Our moms told us about the sticks and stones and that words will never harm us. But we know better. Long after the wounds from sticks and stones are healed, we remember the words. Decades later, we can still remember the words. Something unkind said. Some gossip. Some unfair criticism. Anger. “You can’t do anything right,” we remember. “You’re fat,” that sticks. “I hate you,” hurts more than any rock thrown our direction.
How do we recover from things said to us? How do we move on after something unkind and ugly has been spoken to us? And, in the climate we live in today, harsh and unkind words are becoming the norm.
First, don’t pick the scabs on those wounds. As in life, wounds never fully heal as long as we keep messing with the wound and picking the scabs. The wound continues to bleed. So, try not to rewind those painful conversations over and over. Telling others will only keep the wounds open. Try to focus upon something good and worthwhile, like the Lord.
Second, a conversation may need to take place with the person that hurt you. They may not realize what they have done. They may have meant well, but their words came out sideways and backwards. You may find a friend in that person and he may ask you to forgive him. But, we also know all too well, that the conversation may continue to go south and he may use the opportunity to wound you even more. It is at that time that you may need to put some distance between you and that person.
Third, forgive as often as you can. Even though you were the one wounded and rightfully, the other person ought to ask you to forgive, let it go. Put the hurt in an unmarked grave that you do not visit again. What you do not want to do is to launch a counter attack. That most times fails. One fires a missile. The other is compelled to fire more in return. Then the first person feels the need to launch a few more. Back and forth and what develops is a war. Sides are taken. Feelings are hurt. Things are said. And, most times, someone leaves the congregation. You don’t want to be a part of that.
Fourth, pray to God. Ask God to help you. Ask God to open your heart. Ask God to resolve the difference. Bringing God into the circumstances will help you keep your attitude, words and heart in a heavenly perspective. You’ll realize that it’s not about you. You’ll consider what is best for the kingdom.
Keeping the golden rule at the forefront of our hearts will stop us from saying things that should never be said. In a perfect world, brethren would never hurt each other. But, this world is far from perfect. We must learn how to deal with wounds in a proper fashion.
Let no one look down on you. Easy to say, Mr. Apostle. It happens. But our reply is not in words but in example. Show them and show the Lord that you are made of better things. Your light shines the brightest in the darkest moments. Rather than getting angry, dig in and be the best disciple that you can be.
Show them by your example—that’s the way Heaven wants you to respond.