Thinking first, Acting later
When my big brother in Sydney heard I was coming to Sydney this year for a Christian Writer’s conference, he stepped in quickly and bought me my air ticket. Wasn’t that generous of him? A week ago, he emailed me the e-ticket and I printed it off at once. The only snag was that I forgot to check how many pages the file contained. Too late I discovered page upon page being churned out of my printer when all I’d intended to print was the itinerary. A thick wad of 10 pages was my prize. What a waste of ink and paper.
A pity that I forget to use my brain sometimes! One thoughtless moment and things swiftly turn pear shaped. A few years ago, I made an error which had dire, prickly consequences all because I’d forgotten to put my thinking cap on. A friend and I had emailed back and forth a few times when she’d asked me for my then boss’s email address. I found it by typing his name in the ‘copy to’ section, pasted it inside the email, and sent it off. What I’d omitted to do before I hit reply was to erase his name from the ‘copy to’ area.
A few days later, when I went merrily to my volunteer job, my boss, looking unusually serious, called me into his office. Puzzled by his expression, I walked in and sat down. Imagine my horror on seeing reams of pages of my email correspondence presented to me. He’d printed them all out, assuming I’d wanted him to read our emails. Nothing was further from the truth. Was I embarrassed? You could say that. Was I mortified? Yes, yes and YES. Oops! A blunder I thought I’d never recover from!
Thankfully the end result was favourable. An issue we'd discussed in our emails had been brought to my boss’s attention, so he kindly offered his listening ears if I wanted to discuss the problem with him. After some thought and prayer I did go back to talk it over and felt a lot better for it. So happily, God used my blunder to settle an issue I’d struggled with. And I learnt that day to be extra careful when sending emails.
Acting without thinking—it happens to all of us. I sometimes react badly to a negative situation when I don’t stop to think. I’m ashamed to confess that when my son was little, I’d yell at him for a misdemeanor without counting to ten or thinking things through. A reaction rather than a response often takes us to places we’d rather not visit. How important then to cultivate a habit of thought and to seek God amidst our day to day life.
Have you ever offered advice when your job was to listen?
Have you ever made a decision in haste that you regretted later?
Have you hit back at someone who was unkind to you before weighing your thoughts?
Have you jumped in to ‘rescue’ someone when it was not your job anyway?
Have you judged someone in a moment before you knew all the facts?
O Lord, teach me to use the mind you’ve blessed me with. Let me not rush into quick judgments or hasty decisions. Let me wait on you for answers. Show me how to listen before I speak. Help me use my heart, mind, mouth and actions in a way that glorifies you. Always. Amen.