Well today I read Habakkuk 2:1. "I will stand guard and keep watch what He will speak and how I may reply when I am reproved [paraphrased]." That last part caught my eye. I don’t know about you, but reproof and criticism are tough pills. But I thought, how many times do I actually plan for it and how I will reply.
I have discovered with people and the Lord, the best reply is admission and taking responsibility; like ripping the bandaid off quickly instead of toying with it. But it is something I have to consciously "plan" in my heart. I have undergone deep criticisms by bosses, cuts by friends, and deeply challenged by God to keep short accounts and request forgiveness by Him and others. It is so easy to complicate it with excuses, defensiveness, but’s, and reasoning. Yet in the end, what is the value? The Lord knows where it sits- square on!
So today once again I’m challenged to plan so I may reply from a place of humility - an unnatural place - that only issues from watchfulness and prayer. A hard place because we may surrender to the reproof while another may dismiss or excuse any wrongdoing. Then what? Well, for me, it is a continued exercise to listen to Him; to make Him the authority for the reproof and simply be painfully and willfully honest! We may not see "justice" that seems right but we will accelerate our walk with God if we simply let the reproof do it’s work and change us! There is always a place in the aftermath that feels kind of dead or sad or humiliating. However, I realize that those places - if we allow ourselves to sit with them long enough - will yield a growth that is unique and personal and will make it easier to "plan" for the reproof because we have deeper trust!
A hard go, but a righteous goal. At least for me!