Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate when people say unkind things about you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. This is what God wants you to do, and He will bless you for it.  I Peter 3:9, NLT

     In her article, The Day I Left My Marriage, Becky Zerbe shares the exercise her mother asked her to do when she came in with her 14-month-old son and said she was staying. “Fine,” said her mom, “But before you leave Bill, I want to you to do one thing.”

     She handed her a piece of paper with a line drawn vertically down the middle. Step one: On the left side of the paper, write down all the things that Bill did that made him impossible to live with and to stay married to. Well, he was a slob, he didn’t have good manners, he didn’t share his life like he did when they were dating. Terrible with money, didn’t help with the housework, etc. That easily filled the page. If you are married, you may be able to do the same.  

     When she was done, she handed the list to her mother. “Okay, now. Step two.”

     “I know, you are going to make me list his good points now.”

     “No,” said her mother. “On the right side of the paper, I want you to write beside each item how you respond when your husband does it.”

     She began to think. And then she began to write. Pout, have a talk, nag, cry, criticize, badger, silent treatment. Be a martyr. Roll her eyes. Wish that she’d married someone else.

     When she was done, her mother tore the page in two. She took the left side of the page and wadded it up and threw it away. Then she gave Becky the right side of the page and said, “We will babysit all day long. Go home and reflect and pray on these—the things you can control. Ask God to speak to you. If you do this sincerely, and you still want to leave your husband, we will walk with you through it.” She came back realizing that her responses were probably as hard to live with as her husband’s habits were.

     Doing this exercise is good, because the only thing you can control is what you do.

*How do you respond when people upset you? Is your response helpful? Biblical?

Dear Father, thank You for the people in my life. Thank You that by Your power I can receive them as You receive me: just as I am. Through Your grace I can choose to bless them, resting in You to bless me as I walk in obedience. You are more than enough to meet my deepest needs. Because of Your love I pray, Amen.

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