721 N. Memorial Drive, Lancaster, OH 43130 // Main Service: Sunday 9 & 11am // Movement Youth Sunday 5:30pm

Moments of Truth

Proverbs 14:16 (ESV)

One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.


I recently read a New York Times article that recognized one of America’s beloved presidents for following an interesting discipline. Whenever Abraham Lincoln felt the urge to respond to someone in anger, he would compose what he called a “hot letter.” He’d unload all of his anger into a written note and put it aside until his emotions cooled down. Lincoln would later mark these hot letters with the words “Never sent. Never signed.” Other notable historical figures practiced this same discipline, including Winston Churchill and Mark Twain.

Generally speaking, our culture today does not always practice the same control. Social media points of view (POV) and 30-second sound bites seem to be the norm in a society that teaches us to respond first and ask questions later. The problem with these reactions and responses is that they oftentimes have very undesirable consequences. Which is why you have probably heard the age-old adage, “Look before you leap!”

Today’s scripture calls us to consider taking a strategic pause and to be cautious before we react in a foolish or sinful way. Exercising discipline or acting cautiously when faced with impactful or important decisions is not always easy. Making the choice to take a daily vitamin, for example, is a no-brainer compared to biting back a snippy retort when your difficult family member takes a jab at you.

Many years ago, I was on the receiving end of a tongue lashing by a supervisor. In my anger and embarrassment, I lashed out and delivered an unnecessary insult in response. Although the comment was true, and the supervisor had been a bully, that working relationship was never the same, and the consequence of my action was reflected on my annual performance evaluation. Had I held my tongue and not been so reckless with my words, certain aspects of my career would likely have been a lot easier for me that year.

When we are faced with these moments of truth, we have two decisions: we can allow ourselves to cave to our self-serving tendencies and suffer the negative consequences, or we can proceed cautiously and pray for wisdom in the moment. This course of action, (I have learned the hard way,) both pleases our Heavenly Father, and usually ends the situation for our betterment.

Action Steps

1. On or around 40-45 A.D., James advised the early Church: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5). Look back and think of a time when you acted recklessly or without forethought. Consider using a similar, future event as an opportunity to practice James 1:5. This may include taking a strategic pause and asking God for help in the moment. Or perhaps it may require silence on your part?

2. Is there an area of your life that you tend to act recklessly or foolishly? What are a few steps can you put in place to avoid that tendency?

Father, my patient and always loving Savior, thank You for blessing me with the ability to make my own decisions. It’s comforting to know that even in my moments of weakness, You are there to help me make the right, correct decision every time I call on Your name. Please help me to stop and focus on making decisions that please You, even when I am tempted to act or react in a sinful way. It’s in Your perfect name I ask it, amen.

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