Treasure or Trash

Rosemary Flaaten –

What do you do when someone says something to you that you don’t like? Do you lash back with harsh words meant to cut them down to size or do you pull away, determined to never let that happen again? Have you ever been guilty of separating yourself from people who do not speak positively to you or about you?

This was the setting in 2 Chronicles 18. King Jehoshaphat enquired of King Ahab as to whether or not there was a prophet who might give advice regarding the pending war. King Ahab affirmed that there was another prophet but because this prophet had never prophesied anything good about the king, Ahab hated him.

When I first read this, I felt affronted that King Ahab would be so judgemental and shallow, until I took time to reflect on my own response to receiving harsh words. When someone compliments or speaks positively to me, I readily accept their words as true. But, when offered criticism or negativity, I quickly dismiss their comments as off base. Am I any more fickle than King Ahab?

So what should we do with negative words or criticism? Let me make a suggestion thorough the metaphor of receiving mail. On the outside, a letter may appear shabby or nothing more than junk mail. However before we throw that letter into the garbage it is always wise to open it to ensure it contains nothing of value.

Likewise, we need to have the emotional maturity to be able to examine negative statements to decipher if there is any truth to them. Perhaps this person sees something in us to which we are blind? Is there is anything of value in their remarks that could benefit or stimulate growth? If so, then we should grab them, holding on to them like a gift. On the other hand, if the comments represent their struggles and are indicative of their issues, then we should treat them as junk mail and simply throw them away. If we hold onto these garbage statements they accumulate and clutter our lives. Examine the words we are given and categorize as treasure or trash.

PRAYER: Lord grant me the courage to accept correction and to toss out foolish barbs and the wisdom to know the difference.

“The fool spurns his father’s discipline, but whoever heeds correction show prudence.” (Proverbs 15:5 NIV).

About Rosemary Flaaten

As a dynamic speaker and an award winning author of "A Woman and Her Relationships" and "A Woman and Her Workplace" , Rosemary Flaaten's passion is to see people deepen their relationship with God and others. She lives in Calgary, Canada.
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