Let’s admit it. We’ve all done it. We’ve all had conversations that took place not just in the text of what was said but in subtext. It’s what is behind the words that start arguments. How many of you have had this fight in your house?
“Does this look okay on me?” You ask. You’re hopeful it’s taken you too long to find something to wear to the event and you confess you’re down to the bottom of your closet and you’re desperate.
“It looks fine.” Your spouse replies, but they’ve hesitated. You definitely heard a hesitation so therefore it must look horrible. You can’t believe that you’re spouse thinks you look horrible. At least they should say, “No it isn’t flattering on you, but you’re beautiful.” Instead they think you look awful.
“You hesitated. You don’t like it.” Then the fight starts. Before you know it you’re both arguing over something that neither one of you said.
Or how about when it happens in the church, with your brother and sister in the Lord?
“Hey, your hair looks really nice. I can’t believe how good it looks. Oh my?”
“What” you wonder “it looks like stink the rest of the time???”
Face it. Thinking in subtext will sink your love walk with each other. I always joke that’s why I don’t like hanging around women a lot. With men you usually know where you stand. They’ll just punch each other but be friends later. We girls can be mean. We argue and try to trump each other in belittling subtext. It can be a battle of the unsaid words.
If we are going to be in unity in the body of Christ and really start loving each other, we have to stop it with the subtext battles. We have to mean what we say, and start thinking the best in each other.
1 Corinthians 13:3-7 in the Message Bible says:
“If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.”
I have noticed over the years that when someone really offends you, it’s easy to keep an offense when it comes to that person. The conflict can long since be gone, but every time the person says anything to you, it can be easy to constantly think, “What did they mean by that?” It’s like the littlest thing can tick you off about that person, when really they didn’t do anything.
Do you notice that Love doesn’t keep a score of sins? It doesn’t fly off the handle, and it isn’t always “me first.” Have you noticed in life that often times people aren’t always out to get you or offend you, and even if one particular person is then big deal. That’s their problem. Don’t make it yours! But when you internalize the “what was that supposed to mean?” you’re making it your problem because you’re dwelling on it. You’re stewing in that offense and you need to get over it.
Psalm 133:1 (NKJV) says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!”
God wants us to love each other and choose to be in unity. Listening to what you think is belittling subtext is not going to bring love into a situation, but is really just an excuse for strife and division.
Choose to believe the best in people. Choose to cast off offense, and choose to dwell in unity. To continue with Psalm verse 133:3 it says that there in unity is commanded blessing. There is commanded blessing when you choose to be at peace with each other and love each other. When Jesus was on the earth, he lived like a vagabond on the road with 12 guys. I’m sure there were issues and arguments that tried to spring up. Anytime you put a bunch of people together in those kinds of situations there would. But Jesus loved them regardless and eventually any differences they had they were able to put past them, because in Acts 2 when it talks about the day of Pentecost all those people + a lot more people where in one accord. They learned to love each other and be at peace with each other.
Choose today to believe the best in people. Choose today to love them. Choose today to dwell in unity.