[There’s a time for everything]
Ever been somewhere you never wanted to be? (I mean this metaphorically.) Here’s a great reason not to judge anyone: one day you may very well end up in their shoes, or rather, similar looking shoes anyways.
Ever hit a wall? (Yep, more metaphor.)
That’s how I felt recently. I couldn’t shake things, and I was feeling too exhausted to fight. I was resenting the fight even, but at the same time beating myself up. I wasn’t winning. I felt like a wimp, and I was becoming overwhelmed. Encouragement helped (it helped a great deal, actually), but I felt myself quickly wilting again.
Then I received my much needed loving kick in the pants, and my perspective began to change.
Ever seen the movie 90 Minutes in Heaven starring Christian Haydensen? Andrew and I debated watching it for a while. To be honest, we both thought it would be something very different than what it turned out to be. When we saw that the critics hated it, however, we were convinced we’d enjoy it. (It usually works out that way.)
90 Minutes in Heaven is based on a true story about a man who was in a fatal car crash. The paramedics on the scene pronounce him dead, but an hour and a half later he comes back to life. At this point he’s not claiming that he’s been to heaven. He keeps this to himself for most of the movie.
Whether or not you believe that he saw heaven, the movie’s main focus is on the process of his recovery. I don’t want to give you too many spoilers in case you want to watch it for yourself, but there’s a moment when a friend gets honest with this fellow and tells him that he’s handling things badly. He needed to hear this. I needed it too; I was too focused on the battle again, not Jesus.
There’s a Time for Everything
Here’s something I’ve learned this Season: it’s important to know when comforting and encouraging is needed and when a kick in the pants is required instead. If we get the timing or tone wrong we’re only rubbing salt in the wound.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. –James 1:19-20
Here’s the thing: whether a person is grieving or in a battle, we have stages to go through and things we have to learn. You can’t skip a step. For example: I learned to lament this season. I also learned that lamenting is a good thing. I always believed that I had to bottle everything up and be strong.
When a Kick in The Pants is Needed
I’m no expert on this, but a good rule of thumb might be that if a person knows what they should do, but isn’t doing it, they likely need a caring, but truthful reminder; If they’re in a rut and they’re becoming resentful or bitter, they may need a loving reality check; and if they’ve thrown in the towel, it’s time to bring in the big guns and lay it all out on the table.
However, if you don’t know a person too well, it might not be your place to give them a direct kick in the pants. It still needs to be handled with care, and if the person receiving it doesn’t know you from Adam, they likely won’t receive it as caring.
“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction.” –2 Timothy 4:2
Our loving kick in the pants may come through friends and family, but It may also come through Scripture, a song, nature, a blog post or even a movie. Even our closest friends and family may not accept a loving kick in the pants, but at least we cared enough to try.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill [a] and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, [b] a time for war and a time for peace.” –Ecclesiastes
- time to kill—judicially, criminals; or, in wars or self-defense; not in malice. killing is murder.
- time to hate—sin, lusts, injustice, lies. (He must not respect hateful people. He must honor those who honor the Lord. He must keep his promises to his neighbor, even when it hurts. Psalm 15:4)