Monday, March 19, 2012

Cast, don't blow

Venting. Blowing off steam.  Someone has irritated you so much that you just HAVE to tell someone....or a few people.  Have you ever done it?

I admit I sure have.  A friend would do or say something that I would find hurtful or offensive, and I'd have to "vent" to one or two others to "get it off my chest" and then I'd feel better.  What I was really searching for though was validation.  A listening ear to tell me my feelings were justified.

What we need to realize is, venting is dangerous and destructive.  It not only reveals to the person you are venting to that you are quick to anger, but may also cause them to suspect you do the same thing about them to someone else. Thus, you become untrustworthy in their eyes.  Furthermore, if the person to whom you are venting barely knows, or has never met, the third person involved you've created a distorted impression of this third person in your friend's eyes.  Once you've vented, you may get over the offense and resume the friendship with the offender, but your venting partner may not understand how you could return to such a terrible person who caused you such grief. 

Finally, worse of all, you tear down your own witness and ministry when you talk about others in an unkind way.

So what do we do when we are offended and just have to get it off our chest?  First we need to talk to the one who understands the situation better than we do. Jesus tells us to cast our cares upon Him.  Tell God when you feel hurt and ask for guidance in how to handle the situation.  He may tell you to go to the offender in peace and love and reconcile or He may guide you that it is best to let it go.  Ask for help in responding in a God-honoring way.  Make up your mind to not allow the enemy (Satan) to steal your peace, joy and friendship.  We are instructed to do all within our power to live peacefully among all people (Romans 12:18).

Venting is nothing more than just gossip and slander in disguise, two practices we are commanded to flee from at all costs. 
Leviticus 19:16 You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD.

Proverbs 11:13 Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.

Proverbs 20:19 Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.

Romans 1:28-32 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.  (verse source click here)

So let us give up the fleshly desire to blow off steam to others and turn our troubles over to God.  I, for one, want to be regarded as someone trustworthy, peaceable and honoring to God in my words and actions.

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