Have you seen the video of the little girl painting her little brother with peanut butter? The mother’s reaction is nothing short of miraculous. Not only does she avoid throwing a fit, she even calls her daughter an artist. Seriously? I would have wandered into that nightmare and begun to screech, “What are you doing? You can’t do this! What’s wrong with you? Have you lost your mind?” I might have sunk lower.
This woman had time to pause and get her phone or camera to record the fiasco. She knew others would see her response—perhaps millions. She had time to step back and think.
If I could learn to create a phone-, camera-, or peanut butter-pause before opening my lips, it would be a better world—especially if my pause involved prayer and faith. It would help, too, if I remembered that I had an audience: God and the one receiving the bad reaction.
This is an offering of grace and kindness I can give to others. The pause. The prayer. The deep breath. It’s acknowledging I’m not alone, that God can and will help me, and that what I say impacts others—sometimes profoundly.
As a young mother I often reacted to a “peanut butter baby” in anger, sometimes rage. As I matured, I learned there were some things I couldn’t control: my children’s behavior behind my back—or even in front of me for that matter, their reactions to my words or my discipline, others’ responses in general, and events and circumstances that came our way. I could, however, look to God to create a godly response in me.
So, when rage coils like a serpent in my heart, I can take a breath. Pause. Halt and…
Remember I have an audience of God and at least one other living soul.
Recall that my response matters to the Kingdom of God and to the person against whom I am about to sin. It impacts them more deeply than I can comprehend.
Meditate on the thought, God has promised that “no temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (I Cor. 10:13) ESV
Claim the promise that he is able to work within me according to the power that works in my life—like help me be kind and full of mercy when I want to be cruel. He can give me a grace-response when I prepare to bite and insert poison.
I need periodic peanut butter-pauses. Changes in response require the supernatural presence of God and grace. I need a pause to let grace happen. In light of Ephesians 3:20, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,” I have great hope.