“What is the wisdom of the snake? It is to be watchful and observant until the time is right to act. It is timeliness. One rarely sees a snake chasing its prey or thrashing about in an effort to impress it. But when it acts, it acts quickly and decisively. And as for the dove, it does not contrive. It is incapable of intrigue. Guile is totally beyond it. There is nothing indirect about this gentle creature. It is in this sense ‘harmless.’ … These are qualities we must have to walk in the kingdom with others, instead of trying to drive them to change their ways and attitudes and even who they are. …As long as I am condemning my friends or relatives, or pushing my ‘pearls’ on them, I am their problem. They have to respond to me, and that usually leads to their ‘judging’ me right back…. But once I back away, maintaining a sensitive and nonmanipulative presence, I am no longer their problem. As I listen, they do not have to protect themselves from me, and they begin to open up. I may quickly begin to appear to them as a possible ally and resource. Now they begin to sense their problem to be the situation they have created, or possibly themselves. Because I am no longer trying to drive them, genuine communication, real sharing of hearts, becomes an attractive possibility. The healing dynamic of the request comes naturally into play. …It is a natural extension of this dynamic when we turn to ask God to work in their lives and hearts to bring about changes. These changes will certainly involve more than any conscious choice they could make or we could desire.” Dallas Willard
“Christ stands between me and others [and] … as only Christ can speak to me in such a way that I may be saved, so others, too, can be saved only by Christ himself. This means that I must release the other person from every attempt of mine to regulate, coerce, and dominate him with my love…. Thus this spiritual love will speak to Christ about a brother more than to a brother about Christ. It knows that the most direct way to others is always through prayer to Christ….” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“be as shrewd as snakes
and as harmless as doves.”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Is your love for others characterized by nagging and coercion?
- Do you really know what is best for them? …what God has for them?
- Is “fixing” others a distraction from “fixing” yourself?
Abba, in my love, help me honor others, and your work in them.
For More: Presence and Recovery by Anneke Campbell
I hope you’ll follow “Daily Riches.” Thanks! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)