Can you remember the last time you were frustrated because someone rejected your idea? Or the last time you thought you were doing a good thing for someone else and they failed to appreciate it? It happens to all of us--some more than others; at some times more than other times.
I was reminded this morning that my response to an interruption is more important than the task itself. What?! you may ask. How can a reaction be more important than the real thing? What does one's response have to do with anything? To answer the question, my response reveals my heart--and it is the heart that matters most.
Our society chose the "Leave it to Beaver," lifestyle as a reaction to two world wars in succession. In an effort to bring healing and normalcy to fighting men and families, a facade of peace was erected in homes and communities across the nation. There was an emphasis on morality and appearance (for more detail, see Radical Womanhood by Carolyn McCulley, p.114). With the church culture came a church appearance. Moral, unselfish behavior was expected. It was the norm. Unfortunately, even with a soft-glove-enforced religion, there was a mask of surrealism.
We have come to believe--especially in the church--that what you see is what you get. We don't want to admit our shortcomings to ourselves or others, so we do our best to keep them hidden--behind the hankie. We pull a rabbit out of our hat--a good work out of a bad situation, a kind word in response to a hurtful one--diverting the eye away from "hat", or heart.
But Jesus said, "...the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.' For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. " (Matthew 15:18-19).
So when I interrupt our children who are watching a t.v. program or playing on the computer and their response is an outburst of anger, disputes, dissensions, or factions, I know that their hearts are being ruled by self, not God (Galatians 5:19-20). When I interrupt an activity and they can say, "Okay, Mom," without strife or argument, I know that God is at work in their hearts (Galatians 5:22-23).
The same is true of our service. When my actions or words are unappreciated, unaccepted, or interrupted, my response reveals my heart. If I respond with peace and acceptance, I was not working on my behalf, but the Lord's. The applause of man is secondary to obedience. If, however, my heart responds with ruffled feathers and annoyance, I know that I am more concerned for myself. My heart reveals the working (or absence) of God--regardless of what I "pull out of my hat."
Speaking of interruptions, I have some hungry children chirping for breakfast....
Challenge: As I walk through the day's activities, I want to be more aware of my response to interruptions. Is my reaction God-centered or self-centered?