Consider the Source
Growing up I am certain that my mother was not the only mother that encouraged me to “consider the source” when people said or did things that seemed hurtful or mean spirited. The admonition to consider the source requires one to look beyond the divisive of a person and see the potential reasons for the behavior while simultaneously loving them in spite of the behavior.
Just as a very plant has a root, our behaviors have roots too! I once heard a story of a mother who was teaching her daughter how to make a ham. She took a twenty pound ham and cut about five pounds off of each side, scored it, then smothered it in cloves, pineapples and toothpicks laden with cherries, wrapped it in foil and baked it for about five hours on 350°. The daughter was obedient and did exactly as her mother told her and sure enough five hours later, she had a delicious ham!
She then asked her mother why she cut off five pounds of perfectly good ham from each side of the ham. Her mother replied, “That’s how my mother taught me to make a ham!” The mother, now curious herself about the tradition contacted her mother and asked, “Mama, why did you teach me to cut off so much of the meat from the ham.” Her mother replied, “That’s how my mother taught me to make a ham! My recipe makes a perfectly good ham! Always has and always will!”
Although defensive about having her ham making skills called into question, the grandmother felt the need to call her mother in order to come up with a better answer as to why they cut off the ends of the ham, leaving 10 pounds of unused meat. She called way down to the country and had one of the younger kids in the neighborhood to go and wheel her mother over to the phone. When she finally made it to the telephone she explained the situation and asked her mother why she cut the ends off of the ham. Her mother laughed and said “Baby, as little as that stove your daddy bought me was when we first got married – I had to cut the ends off to make it fit!”
Many times we hear people’s opinions and get angry with them when in fact we ought to focus that energy on praying for them. Hurt people hurt people and broken people break other people. When people within your sphere of influence are saying or doing things that are counterproductive and illogical, ask yourself:
- Why is this person so passionate (or dispassionate) about this idea?
- Is there room for healthy and safe discussion or is this person so wounded that they only seek to wound others regarding this issue?
- Is this opinion or behavior a direct result of a traumatic event or some other damaging incident?
- Can I help them heal without getting wounded myself?
- Why are you so affected by this person’s personality flaws or character issues?
- What does the word of God say about this situation?
- Are you willing to love with the heart of Christ?
If we consider the source and seek ways to be positive in the face of negativity, we will see lives transformed and souls converted by the love that we have for them, and for one another. This week, seek to consider the source and build relationships on the love of Christ.