As usual, I was in a rush. I seem to have 2 speeds: asleep and hurry.
I was late getting home, and in my flurry to get out of the garage and into the house, I shoved open my car door with too much enthusiasm and it clunked into the lawn mower with a thud.
“Dang it! That’s gonna leave a mark,” I hissed. Sure enough, I was horrified to find a looooong, angry, black mark scarring the car door. DOUBLE CRUD! How am I going to explain this to Mr. 4-Ever?
I have already wrecked this car twice. Every time I say to my man, “Honey, I need to talk to you,” he jokingly responds, “Robyn, did you wreck the car again?”
Shifting the blame.
Embarrassed and agitated, I started creating scenarios in my mind to make my carelessness someone else’s fault. If I didn’t have to run every single errand, I wouldn’t even have been in the car today. I live with packrats! This garage has too much junk in it! No wonder I don’t have enough room to open my car door all the way. Why can’t that lawn mower get stored someplace else!?! Wahh! Whaa! Whahah!
Do you do that? Do something foolish … say something ugly … get caught in the act … and then deflect responsibility or accuse someone else so it’s not your fault? Ugh! That is exactly how the accuser of our soul wants us to react because that creates friction which breaks relationships apart.
He started in the garden when he said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”, and he’s been doing it ever since. (emphasis mine)
Owning up to it.
There was no getting around it, I’d just have to fess up. This time I had to tell my man I’d dented the car and I wasn’t even driving! Seems there is no end to the number of creative ways I damage my vehicle!
“I need to talk to you,” I said as I came into the house. Predictably, he teased, “Robyn, did you wreck the car again?” Trying to keep it light, I said, “Well, wreck might be too strong a word, but I did redesign it a bit.”
His face froze, and before I could I had the courage to say another word, he turned on his heel and went to the garage to inspect the damage.
He was gone for a while, but when he came back in the house, he said, “Honey, I’m sorry I left the mower so close to where you park your car. I should have made sure it wasn’t in your way.”
WHAAAAT? He’s amazing! Relief flooded over me. “I’m so sorry. I’ll be more careful in the future.”
Without excuses or accusations, a potentially volatile situation was disarmed. Owning up, taking responsibility, offering a gentle response is often all it takes to defuse, calm, and resolve an ugly situation or keep an angry situation from escalating.
What has worked for you? How do you respond to ugly news? With accusations? Or with a gentle response?
Leave me a comment and tell me what works for you.
Scripture refresher: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1, NIV
Prayer: Father, let me be a quick learner of this lesson and not be a sharp responder. Teach me to take responsibility, extend gentleness and not a harsh rebuke. Amen.