I spend a lot of time having internal debates. I think about things a lot. Probably too much. In fact, I know I think too much because many nights it takes me far too long to fall asleep.
One of my biggest ongoing conundrums is whether I should speak up or stay silent, take action or stay still. Thoughts like, “Will it really make a difference if I share my opinion about such-and-such topic?” or “Will so-and-so’s behavior change because I spoke to them about it?” One moment I’m lying in bed feeling incredibly bold (“Yes! I will say something tomorrow!”) and the next the complete opposite (:: begins to hum “Let It Go” from Disney’s "Frozen").
When I think about what the Lord instructed us to do in these kinds of situations, I immediately turn to the Golden Rule. He said in everything to “do to others what you would have them do to you" (Matthew 7:12).
If I want to know how a particular person in my life is feeling, I have to tell them how I feel, too. I can’t simply assume they understand or know what’s going on in my head. And this goes for more than just communication. If someone in my branch or mission was anointed on Sunday for an upcoming surgery or illness, I should go to the Lord in prayer for them—just as I hope they would for me when my turn comes one day.
It sounds simple enough—and yet, I sometimes get caught up in the “should I or shouldn’t I” argument (at least with regards to the communication aspect…hopefully never with the prayer aspect). It isn’t always easy to step out of the boat, but I’ve found the Lord is always there to catch me when I do.
We may not discuss it often—and it’s probably not a popular topic—but sometimes the actual act of the Golden Rule can be challenging. We live in a society now that is very self-centered and focused on the individual. Sometimes we don’t want to bother someone—or want to be left alone ourselves. But this isn’t what God wants for us.
Proverbs 11:25 says, “And he that watereth shall be watered also himself.”
The sower will never see any growth if he doesn’t spread any seeds. So, too, I will never draw closer to someone if I don’t share my heart with them or what’s on my mind. It’s important to note that this means going to that person in love—not attacking them or pointing fingers for what may be troubling us.
The beauty of all this? We’ll receive the blessing. How many times do we go to our spouse first to apologize or talk about something that is bothering us and feel instantly better? Or maybe we chat with a coworker about a misunderstanding instead of letting it fester? Relief and peace may be instant—or it may take some time. But either way, this is what the Lord has instructed us to do. By “watering others” with encouraging words, prayers, meaningful discussions and open minds, we also will be “watered ourselves.”
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.