Monday, March 19, 2012
Cast, don't blow
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.