I turned around and saw him standing there, fresh cut flowers in hand and a smile on his face.
“I’m sorry. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed.”
I embedded my face in his chest and wrapped my arms around him. An apology and flowers weren’t what I was expecting, but I was grateful for both. I breathed in the soft, earthy scent of the lilies and took them inside.
He wasn’t sleeping well, and I knew the early wake up call from our son didn’t help. We’d exchanged some harsh words and tones that morning, and our day hadn’t gotten off to a good start.
Instead of trying to justify himself that afternoon and push the issue, he chose to extend love and grace. He chose humility.
As I stood over the kitchen counter, trimming the stems and arranging the buds in a tall vase, I thought about my husband’s actions. How much better would our relationships be if we chose to grace over our need to be right?
So often, I feel like I’ve lost my ability to breathe if I can’t get someone to see things my way. But the longer I’m married and the more I work to build strong, thriving relationships, the more I see it’s often the way we respond to conflict which makes us grow.
Can you imagine how boring life would be if everyone thought exactly the same way you did? Many times I think it would make things easier, but it is our differences which stretch and grow us.
As often as I find myself in the world of black and white, there is much grey. There are areas where we have to let the Spirit give us discernment and wisdom.
When I dig into the word, it does not tell me how the wise person is the one who asserts her view of every situation and proclaims it as the ultimate truth.
No, James speaks of a different kind of wisdom.
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in humility that comes from wisdom.”
Wisdom is shown through humility and service, not the loudness of our voice.
A wise pastor once told me Jesus didn’t go through his earthly ministry proclaiming, “You’re wrong, you’re wrong, you’re wrong, and follow me.” Although there were times, such with the Pharisees, when Jesus pointed out the immorality of people’s actions, he spent much more time healing the sick, binding up the brokenhearted, and leading by example.
There will be times when conflict is necessary and we must speak the truth in love, but many disputes are best handled with a simple apology. Even if you are not the person in the wrong, sometimes God calls us to put aside our pride and put the relationship first.
When my husband left work one Tuesday afternoon, he chose humility. He chose grace over his need to be right.
And as his wife and someone who often picks the wrong path, I am inspired to to do the same. I pray God will fill me with his Spirit, so I can extend grace when I need it most.