I can still see Mr. Elliott’s shocked face as I burst
front door almost 50 years ago with a “gang” of bees
swirling around me. As I raced out his back door, I
realized the bees were gone. Well, sort of—I’d left them
in his house! Moments later, he came racing out his back
door—chased by the bees
I had brought to him.
I had more than a dozen stings, with little effect. He had
a different experience. Though he’d been stung only once
or twice by “my” bees, his eyes and a knot on his head
swelled up in a painful allergic reaction. My actions had
caused a lot of pain for my friend.
That’s a picture of what’s true in our interpersonal
relationships too. We hurt others when our actions aren’t
Christlike. Even after an apology, the “sting” sticks.
People would be right to expect an absence of harshness
and an air of patience from those who follow Christ. We
forget sometimes that people struggling with faith, or
life, or both, watch Christians with expectation. They
hope to see less anger and more mercy, less judgment and
more compassion, less criticism and more encouragement.
Jesus and Peter told us to live good lives so God is given
the glory (Matt. 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12). May our actions and
reactions point those around us to our loving Father.
We have found that it’s easy to hurt others
with our words or actions. Teach us, Father,
to pause and to think before we speak or act.
Fill us with kindness and care.